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Post: He failed in the NHL and became the best in Russia. CSKA star turned the league upside down


CSKA forward Mikhail Grigorenko tried to attack the NHL three times. Every entry into the best league in the world has failed. RIA Novosti Sport is talking about a hockey player who could be the new Malkin but is now tearing the KHL apart.

In the spring of 2012, Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin were at the top and shone in clubs. However, teams were already looking for young people to replace them. A sniper with a great shooting and scoring instinct, according to scouts, the new Ovechkin could be Nail Yakupov, who set Ontario league records. Mikhail Grigorenko, who plays in Quebec’s little league, was supposed to grow into the center of the “top”.

The comparison was especially appropriate for Grigorenko. They were similar in size to Malkin and were very similar in terms of playstyle, technique, skating and ability to move outside the penalty area. Even the shortcomings – play at the starting point and a cold attitude towards the defense – were named for the same.

Hockey player Columbus Blue Jackets Kirill Marchenko - RIA Novosti, 1920, 04/03/2023

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When Grigorenko was criticized at the end of that season, Colorado coach Patrick Roy came to the Russian defense. He stated that in terms of his level of devotion, Mikhail was not and never was asked any questions. However, due to the “Russian factor” (fear of going to the KHL in case of failure) and the lack of monitoring of young people due to illness, its position in the draft fell. Grigorenko ended up in the Buffalo Sabers. The club chose the overall under number 12 hockey player. This trend can be called successful for both sides.

The Blades picked up one of the most talented youngsters, and Mikhail avoided the added pressure on the top five or newcomers. He didn’t even return to Russia during the lockout to better prepare for his NHL debut. Grigorenko scored the first goal in Buffalo’s sixth game. But that match will perhaps remain as one of the few bright memories of the Sabers era.

The club felt that the level of the Russians was not good enough to play in the leading links. The new head coach of “Buffalo” Ron Rolston demanded more dedication from the striker to the puck tackle, and Mikhail is not very effective in this type of hockey. A misunderstanding at the club caused a minor scandal. The Sabers wanted to send Grigorenko back to the little leagues, but Grigorenko refused and posted a text with interesting content on a social network.

“I came to North America from Russia three years ago, where I had no bed, no shower, no heating. I worked every day to become a better player and help my family. Hockey is everything to me,” he wrote, asking fans for time. to think about the future

After a while, the message disappeared, and after another disgraceful season in the American team, Grigorenko was traded to the Colorado Avalanche, along with Nikita Zadorov.

It seems that in a new place for the Russian striker everything will be fine, but the old problems have not disappeared. Grigorenko played indecisively, despite taking enough time and first-class partners. He also managed to break personal performance records (10 goals and 27 points). However, they did not renew the contract with him, and interesting offers from other teams did not come.

There was also a third attempt to declare himself in the NHL. Restarting his career at CSKA in 2020, Grigorenko went to Columbus. The start of the season in North America has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Mikhail’s head coach at that time was John Tortorella, who demanded from the players exactly what the Russian hockey player never liked to do. One year was enough to realize that it is better to return to Russia.

But for the KHL, Grigorenko, Ovechkin and Malkin met. A dominant player who can play both wing and centre. All goalkeepers are afraid of his shot, in his ability to make smart passes, only a few will be compared to him. Here he is trusted, allowed to use his best qualities and tolerate shortcomings.

Mikhail has already won two Gagarin Cups and once again reached the final. Last spring, he broke the CSKA record for the number of goals in the KHL, and in December 2022 at the championships of Russia he became the best sniper in the history of the army (105 goals). Of course, Grigorenko is far from the figures of Boris Mikhailov, who scored about 400 goals in local championships. However, his name has already entered the annals of CSKA. This season, the forward has set a personal sniper record in the regular season and is aiming for the third Cup.

The striker’s two assists against SKA in the first game of the semi-final series not only consolidated his lead in the playoff scorer race, but also brought the team closer to the final. Where the army team will probably play with Nail Yakupov “Pioneer”.

The opinion of the author may not coincide with the opinion of the editors.

CSKA striker Igor Vyazmikin (right) during the USSR Championship match.  -RIA Novosti, 1920, 04/02/2023

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Source: Ria

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