Grigorenko Learning From Roy’s Tutelage

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Grigorenko learning from Roy’s tutelage

Patrick Roy’s status as one of the greatest goaltenders of all-time is undisputed.

Apparently, he’s an offensive tactician, too.

So says sharpshooter Mikhail Grigorenko, a member of Russia’s world junior squad whose spending this winter under Roy’s tutelage as a member of the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts.

"Patrick, he’s an offensive coach," Grigorenko insisted. "He was a great player, so he always looked all over the rink."

Roy, a three-time Vezina Trophy winner and 11-time NHL all-star, was inducted in to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2006. He backstopped both the Montreal Canadiens and the Colorado Avalanche to Stanley Cup celebrations and still owns the NHL’s record for playoff wins by a goaltender, with 151.

The 46-year-old is now in his seventh season as boss — his business card says owner/GM/coach — of the Remparts and is considered a leading candidate to be hired as the Habs’ next head coach.

Grigorenko could also be competing at hockey’s highest level as soon as next season.

According to the International Scouting Services’ latest listing released earlier this month, Grigorenko is the top skater available in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Other sources have his slick-skating Russian teammate, Nail Yakupov, listed at the top of the rankings.

The 17-year-old Grigorenko isn’t lacking offensive firepower, although there some scouts have raised questions about his attention to detail on defensive assignments.

You could probably say the same about Russia’s entry at the world junior hockey championship, where they’re shooting for a second straight gold medal. Nobody worried about Russia’s goal-scoring capabilities, although some experts wondered if they’d be able to keep the puck out of their own net at this event.

So far, so good.

Heading into Thursday’s late contest against Team Latvia at the Saddledome, the Russians had surrendered only one goal in two games. The fact they’ve only scored a half dozen times — less than some predicted in matchups with two lesser-lites — hasn’t really mattered.

Grigorenko notched a goal and an assist in Monday’s 3-0 shutout victory over Switzerland and added a helper in Wednesday’s 3-1 win against Slovakia.

He’s also been solid in his own zone, something he credits to the instruction he’s received from Roy in his first season with the Remparts.

"First of all, it’s my play in the defensive zone and my play without the puck," Grigorenko said. "My coaches help me every day, and every practice, and I think I’m getting better in the defensive zone and backcheck and playing without the puck.

"It was first thing that Pat said to me — that I have to play better in my zone and I have to play better in the second effort."

 

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