Update (4:41 PM): In contrast with MacLeod’s report, Red Wings Central’s Sarah Lindenau writes that the Wings are “happy with the play” of Grigorenko, quoting Jim Nill as saying,
â€œHeâ€™s played pretty well. Heâ€™s really got the head (for the game). He makes plays that guys arenâ€™t ready for, but this has been good just to get him ready for main camp.â€
This doesn’t mean MacLeod’s assessment is wrong by any means, as his information could have come from observing body language or on a condition of anonymity. Nill, knowing he’s being quoted by Lindenau, has no reason to call Igor out there and it’s not unlikely that he’s keeping the team’s real assessment of him private, as the Wings often do.
Even asuming that Nill is not fully speaking his mind there, the phrase “he’s played pretty well” is a bit ambiguous and it’s hard to tell exactly how he meant it when he said it without actually hearing the words. (via Snapshots) – Matt
Igor Grigorenko needs to do a lot more to make this team. He had a sub-par game against the Rangers. He was above average in a tournament against 18-22 year-olds, a tournament that he could have dominated. He came to camp out of shape. There’s still time for Grigorenko, but at the moment, the Red Wings’ brass is not impressed.
So, it wasn’t just that first game and those video clips, after all. I had hoped he didn’t have his eyes so set on the NHL roster that he’d neglect the intermediate steps, but it sounds like he isn’t taking this prospect camp seriously. No doubt he still expects to play in the NHL, even after his lackluster performance in this stage of the entry process.
Look at Evan McGrath, who by all accounts is having a great camp. He’s taking this thing seriously and, as a result, is impressing all the right people, even though he has no chance of making the Wings this year. Maybe that’s the problem with Igor. It sounds like he’s let the projections of himself as an NHL-ready forward go to his head. The organization needs to sit him down and talk about his future, which could very well include a stint in Grand Rapids. He has to understand that GR isn’t a career killer and that he has to pay some dues here.
While I’d love to have a Calder Trophy candidate Grigorenko on the team, I have no interest in seeing the Wings give a roster spot to a player who isn’t going to give his all when there’s a guy like Matt Ellis ready to step in. If Igor has a great main camp, the question becomes murkier, but he still should probably see some AHL time. He’s no Henrik Zetterberg or Pavel Datsyuk, after all. If that’s not okay with him, good riddance.