After not being able to crack the Sabres lineup, Mikhail Grigorenko was traded with Nikita Zadorov to the Colorado Avalanche this summer. In Denver, Grigorenko reunited with his coach in the juniors, Patrick Roy, and things started getting better for him, as he was promoted up to the first line. In the recent game against the Carolina Hurricanes, Grigorenko impressed with a three-point performance. In this translated interview, originally appearing on the popular Russian website SovSport.ru, Avalanche center Grigorenko talked about the game against the Habs, Patrick Roy and the tragedy in Paris.
* For the original SovSport.ru article by Gennady Boguslavsky, click here.
– Mikhail, can we say that against the Hurricanes you had one of your best games in North America so far?
– I’d say that it was even my overall best game. The team won, I played on the first line and there were many expectations on my game. And I’m very happy that I didn’t disappoint.
– The games against Montreal are very important to you, aren’t they?
– Yes, of course. First of all, they are very important for our coach Patrick Roy. Everyone knows that he won two Stanley Cups with the Habs. I played there in junior hockey, when I played for the Remparts. The games against the Canadiens are always important. It’s a special team and now they are on the top of the standings. Any win against them is always pleasant.
– Did Roy tell the team anything particular before the game? You don’t win 6-1 against the Canadiens every day.
– Nothing is really needed to be said against the Canadiens. Everyone knows that they are one of the best teams in the league. I was much more focused on the fact that I was going to play on the first line. I didn’t want to fail.
– You played for the Sabres last year, now you play again under Roy, with whom you worked when you were playing junior hockey with the Remparts. Should we expect a boost in your career?
– Yes, Patrick knows me and good ties are always a good thing. He doesn’t need to know what my strong and weak points are, and where to work. Being in Colorado is great. And it’s even better that I am with other Russian guys, Semyon Varlamov and Nikita Zadorov. It has been hard at first, but now everything is going great.
– Roy is known for his great attitude toward young players, Alexander Radulov used to live at his place. Do you feel you have good ties with him?
– Patrick is great because he knows how to relate with players. He wants us to play better and better, to get the best out of our potential. He talks with everyone. Patrick is a very pleasant person and a great professional, he is working day and night. When Roy tells you something, you know that it’s the truth, and not something fallen from the sky. We have a fantastic atmosphere in our team.
– However, Colorado isn’t doing too well, and Semyon Varlamov is having some hard times lately.
– I can talk for myself, Roy wanted to give me a chance. He tried different things for me, different lines. He is very open for this kind of things. We now have three straight wins, we had some away games. We gathered together and have gotten to know each other better. It has been a big moment for our team and it is helping us to climb up the standings.
– Before the game, there was a commemoration for the victims of the Paris tragedy. What were your feelings?
– Such things are always hard to swallow. No one would ever want for such things to happen. I express my sincere condolences. Thank you to the city of Montreal to give a worthy commemoration for the victims. It was a very touching moment, and everyone was emotionally involved.
Alessandro Seren Rosso can be reached via Twitter: @AlexSerenRosso