The options for Mikhail Grigorenko keep growing.
The Buffalo Sabres could keep the 19-year-old on their roster. They could send back to his junior team in Quebec. Or they could loan him to the Russians.
Grigorenko was not on the roster released Monday night by the Russian Hockey Federation for the upcoming World Junior Championships. That’s because he is in the NHL and technically would need to be loaned out to play in the tournament that begins Dec. 26 in Sweden.
“He’s got to be playing,” interim coach Ted Nolan said. “I’ve never seen a player develop not playing.”
Playing for the Russian World Juniors team is something Grigorenko would be interested in. After all, he was a standout for his home country last year.
“It’s always good to represent your country,” Grigorenko said. “Nobody has spoken with me. If they have put me on the list, I would have been happy. I would have been happy to play for my own country.”
But the list is not necessarily complete and Nolan said he and Pat LaFontaine, president of hockey operations, would be talking about possibilities for Grigorenko, including loaning him to the Russian team.
“We’re not 100 percent sure what we’re going to do,” Nolan said. “We’re discussing it. We have a lot of possibilities to look at.”
They certainly have possibilities and will likely have to make a roster move before Thursday’s game with the New York Rangers.
Cody McCormick has been cleared to play after missing four games with an upper body injury.
For him to come off injured reserve means the Sabres need to make a roster move.
And those decisions are starting to get more difficult for Nolan, who sees players adjusting to the mind-set of earning ice time rather than merely taking their turns.
Among the possible moves:
1. Send Grigorenko back to his junior team or loan him to the Russian World Juniors team.
2. Send center Brian Flynn to Rochester.
3. Send either defenseman Jamie McBain or Brayden McNabb to Rochester, although McBain would need to clear waivers.
“First of all, we want to make sure it’s a competitive field here and the people who are here are really competing for the job versus just giving it to them,” Nolan said. “We’re starting to turn that table. Guys are starting to earn it. Now, McBain for example. He’s got to wait for somebody to slip off a little bit before he has a chance to come back in. It’s not just, it’s your turn.”
The injuries are piling up in Rochester. Rasmus Ristolainen won’t be able to play this week after sustaining injuries in the Amerks’ 5-3 win Friday over the Lake Erie Monsters. Ristolainen was sucker-punched in the face by Monsters center Mitchell Heard.
Amerks coach Chadd Cassidy only called it an upper body injury but the speculation is that Ristolainen is suffering a concussion-related injury caused by the punch in the head.
The 19-year-old is also hoping to be granted permission by the Sabres to play for Finland in the World Junior Championships.
Add another name to the Buffalo Sabres’ general manager search. The team received permission to talk with Ottawa assistant GM Tim Murray. He is the nephew of longtime Senators coach and current GM Bryan Murray.
Tim Murray, 50, began his current job July 5, 2007. He has worked for Florida, Anaheim and the Rangers and has a resume filled with scouting and personnel roles.
Murray joins a list that includes several other assistant GMs, among them Jim Benning (Boston), Jason Botterill (Pittsburgh), Paul Fenton (Nashville) and Brad Treliving (Phoenix).
Alexander Sulzer missed his second day of practice Tuesday after being given a “maintenance day” on Monday. Nolan said Sulzer was iffy for Thursday’s game against the New York Rangers. … South Buffalo native Patrick Kane was named the NHL’s First Star of November after scoring nine goals with 19 points for the Chicago Blackhawks. Kane ranks third in the league in goals (16) and is tied for fifth with 30 points in 28 games.