One of the knocks on former Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff was his lack of use of rookie Mikhail Grigorenko.
Interim head coach Ron Rolston appears to have the same impression of Grigorenko that Ruff had.
"He's talented, but he's got a ways to go," Rolston said after Saturday's 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders. "In terms of game situations, and costly mistakes, everyone makes them. But certainly a lot of talent, but he's got a ways to go."
Grigorenko has just one goal and two assists in his 15 games as a rookie while serving as a healthy scratch for four games this season. Fans have wanted to see more of Grigorenko on the power play, as his skill and talent would seem to fit in that type of offensive situation. Rolston says Grigorenko needs to earn that power play ice time.
"He hasn't really been on (the power play) and that's something that he'll have to continue to earn," Rolston said. "Right now, it's just he's got to pace. The pace is what, I think, he struggles with at times in the game. When it picks up and the tempo picks up. He's got the ability, you can see his hands, his skill his vision, but when the tempo gets jumped up a little bit, is where he going to have to make some improvements."
Grigorenko does electrify fans when he has the puck. Fans come out of their seats when he leads the rush and his ability to make tough passes usually draws a positive reaction from those in attendance, which is a different sound that the normal boos that have been raining from the rafters lately. Still, Grigorenko is a young talent that needs to develop, and Rolston, like Ruff did, is easing him into the transition to the NHL.
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