What's buzzing:

Buzzing The Net

Mikhail Grigorenko balks at rejoining Quebec Remparts — report

Neate Sager
Buzzing The Net

View photo

.

Grigorenko was used sparingly in Buffalo (Yelena Rusko, Associated Press)

The Buffalo Sabres believe Mikhail Grigorenko is a junior hockey player; his camp apparently believes otherwise.

As anticipated, the Sabres have assigned the 19-year-old Russian centre to the Quebec Remparts to finish the season, but Grigorenko is refusing to join. Kathleen Lavoie of Quebec City's Le Soleil reported Saturday afternoon that Grigorenko is not reporting, even though the Sabres say the return to the QMJHL is "one of those things that has to be done."

Shocker. Wait. It's the polar opposite of a shocker.

There is no knowing how this is settled. It's definitely a kerfuffle that takes in two rules, one slanted to protect Canadian Hockey League teams' interest and the other to protect its more well-heeled teams. The Remparts, who annually lead the Quebec League in attendance and are bidding to host the 2015 Memorial Cup, are certainly among the group.

Buffalo's hands are tied by the CHL-NHL agreement, which states that a player drafted from a CHL team cannot play in minors full-time until age 20 or until he completes four seasons of major junior. Buffalo tried to assign Grigorenko, who has three points in 18 NHL games, to the AHL. The NHL nixed that move.

The majority of the time, the rule serves its purpose, allowing 18 and 19-year-olds to keep maturing mentally and physically at junior before turning pro. It could stand to have some wiggle room to legislated in, though. Grigorenko has played in 43 of the Sabres' 91 games since the belated start to last season. He's also competed in three world junior championships for Russia, which has also added to his hockey C.V..

Rules are rules, though.

The second part is the CHL's rule that allows a team to exceed the two-import limit if a NHL first-round pick is sent back following the junior league's roster deadline. The theory is sound. It means a CHL team doesn't have to jettison a European it's invested to make room for another player. The issues have been that it wasn't explained well initially; last season the Remparts traded away high-scoring Nikita Kucherov after Grigorenko was assigned to them, even though the rule allowed Kucherov, Grigorenko and Swedish forward Nick Sorensen to all play. The other problem is, as noted, the rule can affect competitive balance. Who's more likely to have a star European land in their laps on Jan. 11 — the Quebec Remparts, or the Acadie-Bathurst Titan?

The spectre of the KHL has to be acknowledged here, of course. Point being, though, one can see why Grigorenko is recalcitrant about rejoining the Remparts. It is his only recourse within Noth America, though.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to btnblog@yahoo.ca.

View Comments (11)
  • NZ bowlers put brakes on South Africa

    NZ bowlers put brakes on South Africa

    By Mark Gleeson PRETORIA (Reuters) - New Zealand took two wickets to launch a fightback as they put the brakes on South Africa who reached 182 for two at tea on the first day of the second test at Centurion on Saturday. Stephen Cook and Quinton de … More »

    Reuters - 10 minutes ago
  • Rosberg on pole for Belgian Grand Prix

    Rosberg on pole for Belgian Grand Prix

    SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS (Reuters) - Germany's Nico Rosberg set the fastest time in qualifying on Saturday to seize pole position for the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver lapped the 7-kilometre long Spa-Francorchamps circuit in one … More »

    Reuters - 10 minutes ago
  • Raikkonen fastest in final Belgian GP practice

    Raikkonen fastest in final Belgian GP practice

    By Abhishek Takle SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium (Reuters) - Kimi Raikkonen set the pace for Ferrari in the final practice session for Sunday’s Belgian Formula One Grand Prix. The Finn, four-time winner at Spa-Francorchamps, lapped the track in one … More »

    Reuters - 10 minutes ago
  • Rosberg takes pole at Belgian GP; Hamilton at the back

    Rosberg takes pole at Belgian GP; Hamilton at the back

    SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium (AP) -- Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg has clinched pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix ahead of 18-year-old Dutchman Max Verstappen, while championship leader Lewis Hamilton will start Sunday's race from the back of … More »

    AP - Sports - 10 minutes ago
  • Qatar Football Association backs official after FIFA investigator seeks ban

    Qatar Football Association backs official after FIFA investigator seeks ban

    Qatar's Football Association said on Saturday it fully backed its vice president, Saoud Al-Mohannadi, a day after a FIFA investigator recommended he be banned from the game for at least 2 1/2 years over allegations of non-cooperation with an … More »

    Reuters - 26 minutes ago