Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: ryan miller
from Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News,
Three years ago, he was the MVP of the Olympics and nearly carried the Americans to the gold medal against Canada. It was a heady time for Miller and for Buffalo. I felt Miller had arrived as one of the world’s elite goalies, capable of leading the Sabres on a long Stanley Cup ride.
In retrospect, it seems like an emotional overreaction. Miller’s star flickered soon enough. The Sabres haven’t won a playoff series since 2007. They’ve missed the playoffs two years in a row. The idea of Miller as the cornerstone of a championship franchise seems fanciful and dated.
Miller has played well enough this season. He has been the least of the Sabres’ troubles. His even-strength save percentage is roughly the same as it was when he won the Vezina in 2010. The defense in front of him has been dreadful. The specialty teams have been bad, and Miller’s numbers have suffered.
So there’s no point in keeping him around any longer. Miller was the most popular athlete in town for awhile. Now he’s the victim of a toxic environment, where disgruntled fans express their disdain in the only way they can.
It’s like a doomed marriage, where the parties try to reconcile but realize that a breakup is the best option. Even your friends know that starting over is best for everyone.
Ryan Miller after losing 4-3 to the Penguins today and giving up the game winning goal with 2:04 left in regulation.
You may notice a few words have been 'blanked' out.
Ryan Miller exchanged texts and emails with the Buffalo News yesterday...
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
“By limiting years of a contract and variance in the level of salary year to year, the player hurt is any player temporarily caught in between what will become a two-tier salary structure,” Miller wrote. “It is true a vast majority of players will never use the right to sign for up to five years. That is not even close to a point in this argument. It is about what money is available to the biggest group in the sport and maintaining NHL hockey as a long-term career option.
“A lot has been said about the stars being greedy. But this is an issue that directly affects my brother [Detroit third-line forward Drew Miller], and I am absolutely thinking about players like him and the good of the game. ... It makes average player careers shorter, so why as a group of players would we accept to accelerate that or create a lever to accelerate that in an agreement that would last 10 years? We don’t want to do it.”
So for as far as the sides have come since September – they have settled on nine pages worth of issues – they have a long way to go and not a lot of time to get there.
from John Vogl of Sabres Edge at the Buffalo News.
Ryan Miller hopes he gets a chance to talk to six NHL owners Tuesday. It might give him a better idea of how the lockout will finally end.
“I can't make sense of what the owners truly need because they want everything,” the Buffalo Sabres’ goaltender wrote today during an exchange of text messages. “That is why it seems like the finish line is moving.”
Miller is among a large group of players who will gather Tuesday in New York City when negotiations between the league and the NHL Players’ Association resume. In a new dynamic, six owners and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly will meet with six players and union special counsel Steve Fehr. The leaders of the respective sides, Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr, will not take part.
“I don't entirely agree with leaving the heads of negotiation out of this because they are paid to make a deal,” Miller wrote. “But if it gets more owners involved then so be it.”
from James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail,
I touched base with (Ryan) Miller a few days ago, and he said part of what’s so difficult about these negotiations is an immense distrust of the owners and their motives in this fight.
It’s still hard for many players to look past what happened during the last lockout, when a win for the league resulted in a large share of those new revenues going to the wealthy teams.
“I think the anger and frustration comes from knowing what the owners are capable of under the guidance of Gary Bettman,” Miller said in an e-mail. “They are willing to let a season burn as shown in 2004-05, and it is a path that they are comfortable taking as their choice form of negotiating.
“This is the third time and no matter how the NHL spins it, the same story is being told. They claim teams are struggling financially and player salary restriction is the only way to address the inevitable disasters. It is hard to trust the owners when it is the same story after years of documented growth and increasing revenue.”
frolm John Vogl of Sabres Edge,
Ryan Miller and Paul Gaustad are the closest of friends. They’ve been roomates. They’ve traveled through Europe together. They were teammates for a decade—a run that ended Monday when the Sabres sent Gaustad to Nashville.
Miller is not happy with the transaction.
“It was a pretty tough day,” Miller said today after practice in Anaheim Ice. “I’m not going to lie. I’m not real happy about the way it all turned out. But that’s the business of hockey.
“Like I’ve said, we don’t make those decisions. That’s more proof because if I had any more influence Paul would still be here. I appreciate the way he plays. He’s been one of my best friends for a long time there. Obviously, that’s going to continue, but it was nice to have him as a teammate and have those other intangibles.”
The Jets started celebrating a Tanner Glass goal, but Ryan Miller of the Sabres ended the stick-raising quickly.
Winnipeg did win 4-1.
from Bob Mitchell of the Toronto Star,
Sabres goalie Ryan Miller is fed up with players running his net but he has a simple solution — start sending players to the penalty box.
“A lot of guys argue they’ve been pushed,” Miller said on Thursday after the Sabres’ morning skate at the Air Canada Centre.
“These guys have the ability to stop on a dime, cut, turn and take a hit. Just a little bit more attention needs to be paid and the only way they’re going to pay attention is if more penalties are being called.”
15:54 Nashville Jordin Tootoo: 5 minutes, charging
15:54 Nashville Jordin Tootoo: 10 minutes, game misconduct
15:54 Buffalo Paul Gaustad: 2 minutes, roughing
15:54 Buffalo Paul Gaustad: 2 minutes, roughing
15:54 Buffalo Paul Gaustad: 10 minutes, misconduct
added 11:45pm, Longer version from Buffalo broadcast team can be watched below…
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
A weekend note in the Edmonton Journal by respected hockey columnist Jim Matheson caused a stir with some fans in Buffalo, with the veteran writer saying he kept hearing that Miller wouldn’t mind if the Sabres traded him.
Some Sabres fans reached out to me via Twitter asking me what I knew. Well, I put the question right to Miller himself whether it was accurate that he may want a change of scenery.
“That is not true at all, and I have never made any comment concerning my status with the team,” Miller told ESPN.com via text message Tuesday. “I am proud of being a Sabre for all we have accomplished, and I am excited about the new chapter Terry and Kim Pegula have inspired. I am working hard to get healthy and build my game back to where I want it so I can start to contribute to an effort to build a championship team.”
more NHL talk…
from Kevin Snow at the Buffalo Sabres website,
An optimistic Ryan Miller said today that he plans to skate as the third goalie at Tuesday’s morning skate, and is targeting Wednesday as his first full practice since being injured in a collision with Milan Lucic on November 12. Miller skated lightly and stopped a few pucks prior to today’s practice. Afterwards he spoke to the media and said he’s encouraged by the progress he’s made.
“I feel good. Symptom wise I think it was more neck; something where I aggravated a disc in my neck pretty good. I had an MRI and CAT scan that backed that up. That’s a source of a lot of the tension and discomfort, and it definitely was limiting my range of motion.”
Miller now isn’t sure if he suffered a concussion in the hit with Lucic, but he was definitely concerned about experiencing concussion-like symptoms.
continued and more on the Sabres…
Kerry Fraser of TSN answers some emails regarding the Lucic hit on Miller.
I have been a strong advocate of the work that Shanny has been doing to this point of the season with supplementary discipline but I have to disagree with his ruling on this one.
I believe he really missed this call and has sent the wrong message. Like it or not, goalies enjoy preferred treatment similar to endangered species in the wild; at least up until this latest decision. It would now appear they are subjected to the same rules as any other player once they leave the “protection of their nest!” Lindy Ruff has every right to call foul on this non suspension. Milan Lucic should have been suspended for the next two (2) games.
I attended a meeting one summer with team general managers and coaches to discuss various topics on the game. A hot topic on the agenda was protection of the goalkeepers. It was generally agreed that goalies deserved preferential treatment and marked “untouchable” for a variety of reasons. (Rule 42-charging- pretty much makes goalies immune to body contact from opposing players.)
added 3:35pm, No suspension or fine for Lucic.
from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,
The Buffalo Sabres got savaged in the North American media and on the Internet on Sunday for not responding to Milan Lucic’s bulldozing of Ryan Miller on Saturday night in Boston. They apparently heard about it in strong terms as well from coach Lindy Ruff and General Manager Darcy Regier during a meeting Sunday in the Bell Centre.
And things took on a much more ominous tone later in the evening, when Regier told The Buffalo News that Miller has a concussion and will be out an undetermined period.
Regier is adamant Lucic should be suspended for the hit. Lucic will have a hearing today at 1 p.m. to discuss the first-period play in which Miller was knocked to the ice and his helmet was knocked off.
You can read the NHL rule, Contact Outside the Goal Crease below and in case you missed or need to watch the play again, check it out here.
“I just stuck around because I wanted to say what a piece of [feces] I think Lucic is. Fifty pounds on me, and he runs me like that? It’s unbelievable. Everyone in this city see him as a big, tough, solid player. I respected him for how hard he plays. That was gutless. Gutless. Piece of [feces].”
added 1:43am 11/13/11, Watch the video below as Miller comments on Lucic.
Milan Lucic was assessed two minutes for charging.
added 8:40pm, Buffalo TV crew reacts to the hit below…
from John Vogl of Sabres Edge at the Buffalo News,
Ryan Miller has lost four games in a row. There’s no word on when he’ll get to end the losing streak. The Sabres’ goaltender made it clear, however, he definitely (and explicitly) wants to end it.
“I’m here to win,’’ Miller said today after practice in First Niagara Center. “That’s the emotion you get from me. If I’m discouraged, if I’m [ticked] off, that’s just how it is. I want to win. I don’t want to be out there getting scored on. I don’t want to be pulled out of a game. I want to, you know, I want to [expletive] win the game.”
The F-bomb put an exclamation point on a rough week for the goaltender, who was pulled less than seven minutes into Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to Philadelphia and had to watch from the bench as Jhonas Enroth beat Calgary and Ottawa on Friday and Saturday.
The game against the Senators was the first time Miller had sat consecutive games while healthy in nearly five years.
“I suppose I’m just trying to find a good place to be and just help the team where I can. I don’t really know where to go because what I need to work on is a longer explanation than you guys are going to put on the air and I don’t really care to share it because it’s a process I do on my own. I’m obviously frustrated with certain elements and that’s pretty obvious. I’m just trying to figure a good [place] to be in, get rid of the last few games and move on. That’s what I want to start doing after this interview.”
-Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller on “his game”. More at Sabres Edge.
Determining a first overall pick in this year’s fantasy hockey drafts is anything but easy, but we probably know this much: the first overall pick won’t be a goalie. Yet a goalie is an important investment to fantasy hockey teams, since only two goalies can be responsible for four out of a team’s ten stat categories in many fantasy hockey leagues. The need for solid goaltending explains why many starting goalies can fly off the board early in fantasy hockey drafts.
Filed in: Fantasy Hockey and Gaming, thegoods13, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: carey+price, cory+schneider, fantasy+hockey, goalies, henrik+lundqvist, ilya+bryzgalov, jose+theodore, martin+brodeur, nikolai+khabibulin, pekka+rinne, roberto+luongo, ryan+miller, sergei+bobrovsky, steve+mason, tim+thomas, tomas+vokoun, tuukka+rask
“Not quite the effort we wanted. I had a chance to set the tone on my end and didn’t do it, and it just kind of went from there.
“I just didn’t close off cross-body. It was rising up and I didn’t have a step on it, so I just looked stupid.”
Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres on the goal he gave up to Dion Phaneuf last night. More on the game from John Vogl of Sabres Edge.
Here is the Phaneuf goal…
What do you get when, during a stretch of three home games, your goaltender ends up with a 2.02 GAA and a .935 save percentage - and is named third star in one game and first star in another? If you’re the Sabres, you get zero points.
Thanks to uninspired losses to Toronto, St. Louis, and Washington, the hot streak is now a distant memory. Ryan Miller gave up exactly two goals in each of those three losses, but his team scored just two of their own in nine total periods of hockey.
As was mentioned here a week ago, the Sabres were en fuego because of a potent power play and the ability to win close games. But in their past three games, they lost a pair by 2-1 scores and went 1 for 9 on the power play.
This team has looked slow. Every time there’s a battle for the puck, it seems like a foregone conclusion that the other team will win it. The defense is having a tough time breaking cleanly out of the zone, and the forwards don’t have an answer for opponents that are clogging the shooting lanes by keeping all five skaters down low.
Thanks to the mediocrity that surrounds them in the standings, however, the Sabres are still in the thick of the playoff race. The Rangers and Hurricanes are on a combined skid of 5-12-3. Buffalo has three games left in their six-game home stand, and the next two are against the falling Thrashers and Senators. These opportunities won’t last forever.
This one’s for all of you Detroit Red Wings fans that comprise a large portion of the KK readership.
There’s been plenty of debate in my town lately about the value of goaltending in the salary cap era. Specifically, does it make sense to keep a goalie (Two hints - I’m in Buffalo and his name rhymes with Hiller) who makes over $6 million per season when you could be spending those dollars at other positions? The Red Wings, time and time again, are brought up as Exhibit A.
A Sabres beat reporter went so far yesterday as to suggest that, since many NHL teams have come on board with Detroit’s low-cost goaltending model, it would be difficult for Buffalo to trade its franchise netminder for anything resembling decent value. With that in mind, and with humble apologies for descending to the level of dealing in hypotheticals, I hope you’ll chime in on this question which is based more on philosophy than reality (sorry, we don’t make up trade rumors here).
Imagine if Ken Holland received a phone call from the Sabres stating that new owner Terry Pegula, wanting to invest more cap money in his forwards, was making Ryan Miller available. As a fan of a team that’s enjoyed enormous success with cheaper goalies, how do you think your GM would respond? How would you want him to respond?
An American-born goaltender from Michigan has a career year, leads his team to the Northeast Division title, wins the Vezina Trophy, injures his hip early the following season and proceeds to stink up the joint. Sound familiar?
As you probably deduced, I’m referring to Tim Thomas.
While the numbers have been eye-popping for the Boston Bruins goaltender in his comeback season, the Sabres have a pretty talented goalie of their own who finds himself in a similar situation to where Thomas was a year ago.
And now, after a nightmarish performance by Ryan Miller Sunday against the New York Islanders, things here in Buffalo have gotten a little crazy. It’s amazing what one awful game in a 12-4-2 stretch will do to people.
A local radio station ran a poll on its website yesterday asking Sabres fans whether or not new ownership should move forward with Miller as their goaltender. Pundits are enlightening us with the notion that non-elites like Antti Niemi, Marc-Andre Fleury and Chris Osgood winning Stanley Cups somehow translates to Miller being expendable.
Ryan Miller was in a cranky mood after Buffalo’s 7-6 overtime loss to the New York Islanders Sunday, and what followed was a verbal confrontation in the Buffalo dressing room between the franchise netminder and two reporters from the Buffalo News, John Vogl and Jerry Sullivan.
Vogl: Are you angry at the loss, what are you angry about?
Miller: I’m just frustrated, and to have you, I don’t understand where that line of questioning was going.
Sully: Maybe you’re starting to doubt yourself, maybe that’s what he’s getting at.
Miller: Maybe you should stop sticking up for him and let him talk.
The Sabres (Media Relations Coordinator) Chris Bandura then tried to end it.
Miller: No, I’ll hang in here and see where they’re going with this one.
Vogl: Are you more mad at the loss or more mad that you have to talk?
Miller: I’m just frustrated, I don’t get that one. Ask about the game.
Vogl: That was about the game.
Miller: I don’t know what you’re going with here John. I have no idea, I really don’t.
See below for a posting from Paul with Sullivan’s scathing article following the incident.
from Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News,
(Ryan) Miller was seething and frustrated, that was clear. It was hard to blame him. The Sabres had blown a two-goal lead at home against one of the worst teams in the NHL. They kicked away a chance to win a fourth straight game for the first time all year. They gave away a precious point in the playoff chase.
The worst thing of all, of course, was that the Sabres lost the goaltending battle to a crippled Islanders team that was down to its fifth and sixth goalies of the season. Mikko Koskinen, who was pulled after giving up four goals, was playing in his fourth NHL game. Al Montoya was playing in his sixth.
What I’m implying, I suppose, is that this was quite possibly the worst loss of Miller’s NHL career. It was also the low point of a season that has seen Miller go from Vezina Trophy winner and Olympic hero to a run-of-the-mill netminder.
In their first game since Friday’s goonfest against Pittsburgh, the New York Islanders are in Buffalo today to take on a Sabres team that needs to win in order to end the day within three points of a playoff spot.
It’ll be interesting to see what condition emotionally the Islanders are in today, not far removed from back-to-back nights that featured a nice shootout win in Montreal and an unforgettable team bonding exercise against the Penguins.
The Sabres obviously won’t complain if New York’s balloon deflates and they come out flat, but it would be foolish to expect it. The Islanders, who have already beaten the Sabres twice in the past month, are a close-knit group that at last check still has a talented group of young forwards playing on a team with nothing to lose.
Buffalo’s game plan should center around shutting down John Tavares, who had a 4-point night on Friday and has tallied 3 goals, 3 assists, and 16 shots on goal in three games against the Sabres this season.
Ryan Miller will likely get his 31st consecutive start, and Patrick Kaleta is expected to return to the lineup from injury. The Sabres defeated the Islanders in their only day game played thus far this season, while New York is 3-3-0 in day games.
As a public service to numbers geeks and the attention span impaired, we now bring you a quick analysis of the Buffalo Sabres’ current 10-4-1 streak which has allowed them to close to within five points of a playoff spot:
Buffalo’s stellar record as of late can really be attributed to their power play (13-46, 28.2%) and their ability to win the close ones (5-1-1 in one-goal games). More numbers:
Leading scorers: Thomas Vanek (6-13-19), Jason Pominville (6-9-15), Drew Stafford (7-5-12), Tyler Ennis (3-7-10), Jochen Hecht (5-4-9).
Goaltending: Ryan Miller - started all 15 games, 2.71 GAA, .919 save percentage.
Special teams: Power play - 13-46 (28.2%); Penalty killing - 47-55 (85.5%).
Goal differential: In regulation - 47 goals for, 42 against; 5 on 5 - 36 goals for, 30 against.
Location, location, location: 4-2-0 at home, 6-2-1 away.
Against quality opposition: 6-2-0 vs. teams currently in playoff position.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: buffalo+sabres, drew+stafford, jason+pominville, jochen+hecht, ryan+miller, sabres+stats, sabres+streak, thomas+vanek, tyler+ennis, tyler+myers
Sometimes it’s as simple as your best players being your best players.
The Sabres earned a big 4-2 win in Boston last night, and regardless of what the 3-stars voters had to say, this game was about Ryan Miller (38 saves) and Thomas Vanek (game-winning goal, assist) coming through when it mattered most.
On the subject of Miller, there have been rumblings in the local media that he should get a game off before the All-Star break. The talk after last night’s game was about whether or not Patrick Lalime or Jhonas Enroth should start the following night against the New York Islanders.
This is the same media that reminds us continuously that the Sabres as an organization don’t display enough desperation. Sitting a healthy Miller tonight, when the alternatives are a guy who hasn’t won a single game since Easter and a rookie struggling to be a .500 goalie in the AHL, wouldn’t exactly exemplify a sense of urgency.
The biggest concern for the Buffalo Sabres recently has been the lack of coverage in their own end. New York Islanders star forward John Tavares had a field day in the Buffalo zone Saturday night, and he even half-heartedly noted afterwards that he had so many scoring chances in the 5-3 Isles win that perhaps he should’ve notched two hat tricks instead of his one.
The Sabres have allowed five goals in two of their last three games, and that’s in no small part due to the struggles of the Tyler Myers-Andrej Sekera pairing. They’re a combined –9 in that stretch. The play of Myers, who looks clumsy at times and seems to be having issues with his skating, has regressed to where it was during the first month of the season.
Getting some heat of his own, despite a huge lack of defensive support, is goaltender Ryan Miller (17-14-4, 2.72 GAA, .911 save %). It’ll be interesting to see how this town reacts if the red lamp behind the franchise netminder and fan favorite continues to be lit too often. A huge component of last year’s 100-point team was Miller’s ability to steal some games, and this season it just hasn’t been happening.
Buffalo will try to tighten things up tomorrow night when the Montreal Canadiens come to town.
from John Vogl of Sabres Edge at the Buffalo News,
Lindy Ruff doesn’t need to look at the stats any more than anyone else to know one thing: Ryan Miller hasn’t been as dominant as last season.
Miller will enter tonight’s game against San Jose ranked 28th in goals-against average (2.77) and 27th in save percentage (.907). Those numbers are a long way from last year’s Vezina Trophy-winning career bests of 2.22 and .929.
“I think just OK,” was how Ruff assessed the season for the Sabres goaltender. “He’s been a victim sometimes of some pretty tough breaks with deflections and pucks off of people’s skates on the backside. At the same time, he’s had a tough time grabbing that one big save for us at a key time in the game. There’s nobody that wants it more than he does. Short-term, if we can get his goals-against down, it’ll help us win games.”
There’s a fine line between winning and losing in the salary cap era, but some statistics can show how slanted that line can be.
Here’s one for Sabres fans to ponder: Buffalo’s 3-2 overtime loss to Boston last night continued a disturbing trend. Since March 12, if you disregard last minute empty netters, the Sabres have been in 31 games (including playoffs) that have in effect been decided by one goal.
Buffalo has only managed to win 5 of those 31 games in regulation or overtime. This is not the stuff contenders are made of.
* * *
It’s time for coach Lindy Ruff to put this Nathan Gerbe-on-the-top-line thing to sleep. A team that needs every point it can get just to make the playoffs shouldn’t be dragging down its top line with a guy who has 2 goals in 38 career NHL games.
In the 3 games since this awful idea came to fruition, linemates Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy have combined for one goal and zero assists at even strength. Tyler Ennis was a better and more dangerous player than Gerbe a week ago, and we can now confirm that this hasn’t changed.
It’s in the hole!
Rewind to three weeks ago: The 2010-11 season is about to commence, and your friends over at Psychic Freaks Network get a few premonitions right for a change. The crystal ball shows the Sabres completing their first 10-game segment with a winning road record, Derek Roy on pace for a 90-point season, and Tyler Ennis delivering pretty much as advertised and battling for the lead in rookie points.
If you’re a Sabres fan you’d be guessing first place on Halloween and hearing pundit predictions of a 40th franchise anniversary party with a happy ending, right? After further review, you might want to throw that crystal ball in the trash along with the Brett Hull trading card your prankster friend got you for your birthday.
Given all of the above, plus the fact that Thomas Vanek, Tim Connolly and Drew Stafford are each on pace to exceed their respective goal totals from last season, how does this team find itself wallowing near the bottom of the pack at 3-6-1?
Today’s three cheers, in honor of outstanding performances from last night’s action:
***Cheers to Tampa Bay’s Ryan Malone, whose three-point effort was capped with an overtime winner in Montreal, leading the Lightning to their second win in as many tries on the young season.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Buffalo Sabres, Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: clarke+macarthur, ilya+kovalchuk, martin+brodeur, ryan+malone, ryan+miller
Today’s three cheers for those who deserve as much from their performances of a night ago:
***Cheers to Derek Stepan of the New York Rangers, who burst onto the NHL scene last night with a hat trick in his first career game. Dallas’ Fabian Brunnstrom was the last player to manage three goals in his NHL debut and Stepan became the fourth player in league history to accomplish the feat. That it came against the reigning Vezina Trophy winner in Buffalo’s Ryan Miller, too, makes the performance that much more impressive. If Stepan’s contributions in the early-going are any indicator, New York will fare far better than some of us may have predicted.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Dallas Stars, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Phoenix Coyotes, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: alexei+yashin, david+hale, derek+stepan, fabian+brunnstrom, guy+boucher, john+tavares, kyle+okposo, mark+streit, mike+milbury, radim+vrbata, ryan+miller, steve+downie, todd+fedoruk
While it certainly can’t be said with a straight face that Ryan Miller doesn’t get enough respect, there are some pundits out there who have declared, almost as a foregone conclusion, that the 30-year old Sabres franchise netminder will still be solid but won’t be able to duplicate his Vezina-worthy magic of 2009-10.
Whether because of changes in the Sabres defensive corps, having played too many games, or simply from the difficulty of maintaining such a high level of play in an ultra-competitive league where the difference in the talent level of goaltenders has shrunk significantly, discussions by many about Miller’s prospects for the upcoming season are accompanied by buzzwords and catch phrases like “dropoff” and “coming back down to earth”.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
After a sensational season that saw him capture Olympic MVP honors and his first Vezina Trophy, Ryan Miller decided there was only one way to recharge his batteries this summer.
“I disappeared,” the Buffalo Sabres star netminder told ESPN.com this week. “I just tried to relax and lay low.”
Most of his offseason was spent in Southern California instead of his native Michigan, as the Team USA lynchpin opted to get out of the limelight after a superb but draining season.
And yet, there was no hiding. Not after what he did for Team USA last February, backstopping the underdog club to an unexpected silver medal. Americans from all walks of life have been thanking Miller for what he did in Vancouver.
“A lot of people, actually, a lot of people I wouldn’t expect from different parts of the country,” said Miller.
Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier is at the World Hockey Summit and will be involved in a symposium on junior hockey development this afternoon at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre.
Much of the discussion is expected to revolve around the Canadian Hockey League and the impact of the influx of young players from European countries. The panel will be moderated by Hockey Night in Canada’s Jim Hughson and will include such heavy hitters as Regier, IIHF Vice President Murray Costello and USA Hockey’s Jim Johannson.
“It’s very important for the hockey community to share best practices, ideas, and concerns that everyone has regarding junior development,” Regier said this morning on Toronto’s FAN 590. “There are a lot of choices out there for kids and I think it’s critical that they choose hockey over all other sports.”
As Sabres fans are well aware, the value of player development for a budget conscious team like Buffalo is a big issue to Regier. “We don’t get heavily involved in the unrestricted market, and with players becoming unrestricted at the latest at age 27, it puts tremendous pressure on junior development, and we’re very dependent on it.”
Regier also admitted that the Olympics affected franchise goaltender Ryan Miller as the season wore on. “I think at the end we did see him maybe not as sharp as he was at the top of the season. When you have someone playing that many games and with very little rest time it’s going to impact him.”
The Sabres open training camp with “Puck Drop 2010” at HSBC Arena on September 18.
from George Malik of Snapshots,
On WDIV’s Sports Final Edition, correspondent and shift disturber Rob Parker issued what might become a common—and completely illogical, if not impossible—trade rumor among the Detroit media types who neither grasp the complexities of the salary cap nor want to wade their way through a relatively drama-free Red Wings off-season.
Parker suggested, in his “Clubhouse Confidential,” that the Red Wings will kick the tires on acquiring Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, who sports a conveniently media-forgotten $6.2 million salary on a contract which runs through the 2013-2014 season.
from Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail,
When hockey scout Paul Henry returned to his Ontario home the other day, he found a package waiting for him containing a puck with the number 139 written on it.
The puck came from Buffalo Sabres’ goalie Ryan Miller, who sent 139 of them to friends and associates across North America with an explanatory letter.
“Being a member of the 2010 U.S. Olympic hockey team was a dream come true,” Miller wrote. “The Olympics was everything I thought it would be and more … As a gesture of my appreciation for helping me make my Olympic dream come true I have endorsed a special Olympic hockey puck.”
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
The Hart Trophy hardly ever goes to a goaltender, give or take the odd Dominik Hasek or Jose Theodore.
But this may be one of those years when voters select a goalie as the recipient of the NHL’s most valuable player award. In large part, voters shun selecting a goalie because netminders have their own award, the Vezina Trophy, to contend for, just as Major League Baseball voters figure pitchers have the Cy Young Award.
This season, however, NHL voters should get their heads out of the sand.
from Matthew Futterman of the Wall Street Journal,
Ryan Miller was the most valuable player at the Olympic tournament, where he won a silver medal for Team USA. He’s one of the best hockey players America has ever produced. He’s making $6.25 million this year for the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. His team is in first place. He’s dating an actress. And if you asked him, he’d probably be happier if we shut up right now.
“What can I say?” Mr. Miller said during an interview on a press tour Monday, where he said all the attention has been a bit surreal. “I’m from the Midwest, and everything was always about keeping a low profile.”
NEW YORK (March 4, 2010) – Mike Babcock, head coach of the Detroit Red Wings and Team Canada, and Ryan Miller goaltender for the Buffalo Sabres and Team USA, are today’s guests on NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman on NHL.com and SIRIUS XM Radio at 6 p.m. ET.
Mike Babcock’s international coaching career has been golden. On Sunday, as head coach of Canada’s Men’s Olympic hockey team, Babcock completed hockey’s grand slam by adding yet another accomplishment to his already impressive resume. With Canada’s 3-2 overtime victory against Team USA in Vancouver, Babcock became the only coach in hockey history to guide teams to supremacy in four of the most prestigious tournaments in the game: the World Junior Championship, the World Championship, the Olympic Games and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
This time, with a strange noon local time start, it’s between two talented NHL netminders, American puckstopper Ryan Miller and Canada’s Roberto Luongo, still seeking to define their careers.
Neither has won a Cup or a Vezina. Luongo has a world championship and was part of the 2004 World Cup goaltending tandem that won gold. Miller, a one-time Hobey Baker Trophy winner, has played in three world championships but has yet to medal.
Miller has 20 NHL playoff victories, Luongo 11. They are goalies looking for a date with destiny.
from Greg Wyshynski at PuckDaddy,
This just in: Team USA goalie Ryan Miller(notes) has not, repeat, has not guaranteed a gold medal for his team. And MSNBC found that out the hard way tonight.
The network had a phone interview with someone claiming to be the Buffalo Sabres goalie on Friday, and that Fake Miller vowed the USA would win gold.
This is something Ryan Miller would, of course, never do. As he would tell MSNBC’s Willie Geist during an actual interview with the U.S. Olympian later, Miller heard from friends and NHL personnel “asking if I’d become that much different and that cocky because of this.”
Remember the Ryan Kesler empty net goal against Team Canada? Remember the description of the goal by Willie Geist? There is the empty net, there is the puck and there it goes into the goal. Enough said.
from Greg Wyshynski of PuckDaddy,
Miller is blue-collar. He’s workmanlike. He’s all the other words one uses to describe a player whose style of play wins more games than makes highlight reels.
Miller is also reserved. He’s introspective. He’s the last guy who’d ask for the attention that comes with being the best goalie in the Olympic tournament thus far; yet he talks to the media and fans everyday on every issue, ranging from pucks hitting him in the chest (“I’m really weak through the ‘S’,” he joked) to his romantic life.
“Yeah, despite my best attempt to not have that happen,” he said.
But Miller gets it. He understands that, in many ways, the Olympic experience isn’t contained to Vancouver; that he and his team are brining hockey to the casual fan back home.
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
U.S. men’s hockey coach Ron Wilson said Wednesday that the Buffalo Sabres’ Ryan Miller will be the starting goalie Thursday against Norway and throughout the Olympic tournament.
“Ryan will play every game unless something drastic happens,” Wilson said….
“This is the playoffs as far as I’m concerned,” Wilson said. “You usually go into the (NHL) playoffs with your hot goalie playing the last six weeks of the season and you don’t think during the playoffs I ought to give my backup some work because what if something happens to the starter.”
Apparently, ‘Miller Time’ and ‘Support Our Troops’ are not words the International Olympic Committee wants to see on goalie masks.
Read the AP story via NBC Olympics.
from Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News,
A goalie has won the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s MVP only four times. Montreal’s Jacques Plante won it in 1961-62. Jose Theodore won it for the Canadiens in 2001-02. The Sabres’ Dominik Hasek won it back-to-back in 1996-97 and 1997-98.
If I had a vote now, it would go to the Sabres’ Ryan Miller. You can make arguments for other players, but Miller has been the most vital player to his team, the man most responsible for his team’s lofty position in the standings.
KK readers, who is your Hart Trophy winner or is it to early to tell?
from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,
Miller leads the NHL with a 1.84 goals-against average and an eye-popping .937 save percentage. Oddly enough, that’s the exact figure of Hasek’s NHL record set during the Sabres’ 1998-99 season that ended in the Stanley Cup finals. Miller has 15 wins, one off the league lead.
Just past the first quarter of the season, Miller would be a heavy favorite for the Vezina Trophy given to the league’s best goalie. And he’d be in the small circle of discussion for the Hart Trophy, given to the league’s most valuable player.
Best in the world?
“That’s nice of them to say but there’s a lot of great goalies in the league,” Miller said after Tuesday’s optional practice in HSBC Arena. “We’re playing a game that really fits our style. Our system and the way we’re playing benefits the way I read plays and how I go out and play every night. The coaching staff took that into account.
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
The Buffalo Sabres need to be more like Ryan Miller. Or, at the very least, they need to write down what he said, tape it to their walls and read the words daily during this second long summer in a row.
The franchise goaltender stood in front of his stall in HSBC Arena on locker-cleanout day and started with a caveat. He said it was too soon to make a list of what went wrong because the season ended just days ago. He said he needed time to digest things.
Then, for more than 10 minutes, Miller passionately and articulately described exactly what went wrong and how the Sabres can fix it. He provided the map the Sabres can use to find the way back to successes like 2006 and 2007, when they went to consecutive Eastern Conference finals.
The road to the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2009-10 starts with establishing an identity, finding a pulse for the dressing room.
“We’ve got to get back to some of the years we had a few years ago,” Miller said.