"Hopefully after warm-up, I'll be good. I don't think nerves will last more than one, two shifts … I don't care about other teams. I just want to prove to the Sabres they made the right choice in drafting me."
Grigorenko will be paired on one wing with Steve Ott, the only Sabres who might be more highly anticipated by Sabres fans than Grigorenko to make his blue and gold debut. Ott was acquired from Dallas in July for Derek Roy, but Sabres fans have yet to actually see him play.
Playing the opposite wing during practice this past week has been Ville Leino. But coach Lindy Ruff said Leino aggravated an injury Friday and missed Saturday's practice. He will skate this morning and be a game-time decision.
"My discussions with him are if he feels like he’s good, he’s ready to roll, then we’ll get him in. If not, then I’ll adjust the lineup," said Ruff, who said he may move Jochen Hecht or Patrick Kaleta up from the fourth line if Leino is scratched.
"It gives us maybe a little advantage on a scouting standpoint, but they'll be ready to play."
The doors to the First Niagara Center will open at 10:15 a.m. The Sabres Store will still be running its 50 percent off sale until the game's conclusion.
Nancy Saia of Buffalo and James Kretz of Tonawanda will perform the ceremonial first puck drop prior to the game. Concession prices will be slashed to $3 for a hot dog and chips, $1 for popcorn, $4.25 for a pop with souvenir cup and $2 for peanuts.
Sunday's game will be the first of seven nationally televised games the Sabres will play in this season. All other games will air on MSG, and all games will be broadcast on the radio on WGR 550 AM.
The other national games are as follows:
- Feb. 17 vs Pittsburgh, NBC
- March 10 at Philadelphia, NBC Sports Network
- March 17 at Washington, NBCSN
- April 2 at Pittsburgh, NBCSN
- April 7 vs. New Jersey, NBCSN
- April 17 at Boston, NBCSN