Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: ryan miller
The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson penned a particularly prolific set of Hockey World columns and blog entries (so much so that I'm stealing one for my Malik Report blog), and we're going to start sifting through four separate columns/entries' worth of observations and nuggets of wisdom with a question that many have pondered but few have tried to analyze:
Is there any logical way in which the Washington Capitals and Alexander Ovechkin can engage in a civilized "divorce" (and/or removal of that heavy captain's "C"), or is the team, "Married to Alex Ovechkin for life?"--to the detriment of an increasingly rotating cast of coaches, goaltenders and complementary players?
Since the Gretzky trade/sell to the LA Kings in 1988, we all know anybody can get dealt, although that’s Leonsis’s call, and the question is how many people would give up their tickets to games if Ovie wasn’t there. There’s 100s of people in Caps’ No. 8 jerseys at games in Washington. But, winning often trumps player loyalty and in the time Ovechkin has been with the Caps, they have won three playoff rounds in, this, his 10th year.
Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: alex+ovechkin, anaheim+ducks, calgary+flames, chris+pronger, derek+roy, dustin+byfuglien, evander+kane, mike+green, ryan+miller, st.+louis+blues, teemu+selanne, vladimir+konstantinov, washington+capitals, winnipeg+jets
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
There are some who felt the Blues would wait to see how Miller performed in the playoffs before making that decision, but not so. They’ve already decided they want to keep him but won’t begin contract talks until after the year is over.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Miller gives it some serious thought. St. Louis is an awfully popular city with players, and the Blues will be a contender for a few more years to come.
On the flip side, July 1 isn’t that far away and he’s never been on the open market.
He’s been linked rumor-wise in the past to Anaheim in part because Miller’s wife is an actress in Los Angeles and the netminder works out in Southern California every summer.
But the Ducks have Frederik Andersen and John Gibson -- two young netminders they’re very high on -- plus, who knows what happens with Jonas Hiller (UFA on July 1).
read on for more hockey topics including Hemskey and Vanek talk...
The NHL is apparently seeking officials...
Dreger: They're calling it the NHL Exposure Combine and the belief is that they're hoping to bring in upwards of 60 high-level prospects. They're going to collect these, literally, from around the world, but yes, they will send invites to certain universities and NCAA colleges for those graduating hockey players who perhaps want to pursue a career as an NHL on-ice official.
They'll hold the combine in August in Buffalo. There will be considerable physical testing but it's all part of trying to expand the search and every other year, they'll do an amateur version.
McKenzie: I smell a reality show coming: “So You Wanna Be a Ref?”
Ryan Miller after his first game with the St. Louis Blues, a 4-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.
“I definitely thought (St. Louis) was a good option for me. I was trying to be really open to anything that was going to come my way and be professional and be ready to play. I was kind of thinking about the possibility of St. Louis and now that it’s happened, it’s gone through, I’m really excited to be here. I do think it’s a good fit.”
-Ryan Miller of the St. Louis Blues, who will start against the Phoenix Coyotes tonight. More on Miller from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
For those of us who aren't glued to Twitter or the interweb, the Dan Girardi's re-signing with the New York Rangers and the Ott-and-Ryan Miller-for-Jaroslav-Halak-etc. trades were the first of perhaps a dozen or so meaningful moves that will result from literally thousands of trade rumors per actual transaction made...
But the Sportsnets, ESPNs and deadline-drama-loving fans are obviously hoping that Friday's transactions broke a dam's worth of inactivity ahead of what many of you are probably hoping will be a 35-to-45-transaction period of time between now and 3 PM EST next Wednesday, and both TSN's Bob McKenzie (on Twitter) and ESPN's Scott Burnside and Craig Custance suggested that we've not seen the last of Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray's pre-trade deadline moves...
Between the first and second period of the Sabres/Sharks game, Ryan Miller spoke to the media.
added 7:13pm, Blues press release below...
added 6:41pm, Another tweet from McKenzie,
Not saying this is it, but one scenario that has definitely been discussed: 3-way trade involving BUF, STL and OTT. A # of variations.
added 6:42pm, McKenzie again,
STL would get Miller, OTT would get Chris Stewart, BUF would get prospects from OTT. If Ott (the player) included to STL, 1st rder to BUF.
from Neil Greenberg of Capitals Insider,
During even-strength, Washington netminders have stopped 1,369 of the 1,485 shots they have faced (0.922 save percentage). Miller has posted a 0.928 save percentage in those same circumstances. So if Miller gave the same performance for Washington as he did in Buffalo for all their previous games, the Capitals would have seen one fewer even-strength goal against every four games.
On the penalty kill, Washington netminders posted a 0.888 save percentage while Miller provided Buffalo with 0.905. That difference would be one goal against every 17 games.
The net result? If Miller plays the same percentage of games in Washington as he has for Buffalo we can expect him to start 18 of the 26 remaining games. That would mean between four and six fewer goals against – perhaps a win or two more than the current crop of Capitals’ netminders. But at what cost?
Buffalo is not going to give Miller away, so assets would have to be sacrificed. Considering Buffalo is in rebuilding mode, that would likely include a draft pick and/or a prospect. And it would have to include moving a couple of roster players. According to Capgeek, Washington can add a contract with an average annual value of just $199,469. Ryan Miller carries a cap hit of $6,250,000, meaning others would have to go. With the blueline corp thin in terms of talent I would expect one of the goalies and a forward. But which ones?
from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
As speculation intensifies over the future of Ryan Miller, there’s one thing that’s clear to me: it makes more sense for new Sabres GM Tim Murray to trade him sooner than later. The closer we get to the NHL’s March 5 trade deadline, the better the chance Buffalo gets pennies (or maybe not even a single penny) on the dollar for the franchise’s most important player of the past decade. And the potential for that happening should keep Murray awake 24/7 until Miller is an ex-Sabre.
Let’s get to the “we knows” pertinent to Miller’s situation: We know there are GMs who prefer to act well in advance of the deadline and head off the temptation to get in a bidding war against (a) their counterparts; and (b) the clock itself. We know the goaltender market is a buyer’s market at present. And we know Miller is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this year.
Do any of those factors suggest to you that Murray would be best served to bide his time and let the trade partners come to him? They shouldn’t.
Miller with a great, stretching blade save on Mikhail Grabovski.
The Sabres won in a shootout 2-1 and Miller was great again.
“The most important thing is to listen to what Ryan Miller wants to do. Obviously you’d love to keep a great goalie like that. He knows Buffalo. Everybody loves him here but at the same instance I’ve got to know what he wants to do. If it fits into the plan long term and financially it’s a good fit, Ryan Miller will be here. If not, if he doesn’t want to be here, we’ll make the best choice for the future of our organization.”
“To come by a goalie like that who wants to stay here should he choose to want to stay here helps our team grow. It gives us an opportunity to develop. If he wants to be here under the right terms, I think you’d love to keep Ryan Miller.”
-Pat LaFontaine, President of Hockey Operations for the Buffalo Sabres. More on Miller and new GM Tim Murray from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News.
The Edmonton Journal's "Hockey World" columns now hit the web as a set of blog entries, and Paul covered this week's first entry, which discusses the play of Los Angeles Kings goaltender Ben Scrivens. Overnight, Matheson posted a slate of "Short Shifts" and a "This 'n' That" entry, and the former offers bite-sized observations in the, "I was thinking that, too!" department...
An NHL pro scout, after watching the Buffalo Sabres, said: “Ryan Miller is about all they’ve got. He’s playing unreal.” So where do the Sabres send the goalie at the trade deadline? Are the New York Islanders on his list of teams he’d play for? Are the Nashville Predators, if Pekka Rinne is out for longer than they thought?
- I find it interesting that the NHL was dead-set against those 12-year contracts for players, making a term of eight years for their own free agents and seven years for another team’s players the maximum, but jumped for joy when Rogers came up with the same 12-year, $5.2-billion TV deal.
- Defenceman Shea Weber will have a visor on when he returns to the lineup. The hockey gods smiled on him when David Perron’s shot hit the Nashville Predators’ captain around his right eye. He escaped major injury. Why any D-man would ever go without a visor is a mystery to me, with all the errant pucks. Marc Staal also got lucky last year when Kimmo Timonen’s deflected shot nailed him.
- Tri-City Americans goalie Eric Comrie, Mike’s younger half-brother, has a routine at every stoppage where he comes to the bench and gets down on one knee, away from the other players, a la Tim Tebow. “It’s always the same place. I do some breathing exercises, trying to maintain my energy,” said Comrie.
It continues as well.
The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch must be doing triple time this weekend. He's offered all but "embedded" coverage of Daniel Alfredsson's return to Ottawa, but he still found the time to posit his weekly roundup of trade rumors, and he leads off with the suggestion that the New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres may make another blockbuster trade:
Two league executives told the Sun that [New York Islanders GM Garth] Snow has been working the phones to see if he can get a goaltender to try to get the club back on track in the race for the post-seaason.
The ideal scenario: Convince Ryan Miller to waive his ‘no move’ clause and leave the Buffalo Sabres for a short-term stay in Long Island to help the club make the post-season.
Miller will find it a lot different with the Sabres under Ted Nolan. He is a players’ coach but he also likes things done his way. If they aren’t, he’ll come down hard on the offenders.
It may be in Miller’s best interests to move on. The Isles may be a longshot but they need to improve in net or it’ll be an even longer year and coach Jack Capuano is on the hotseat.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The Buffalo Sabres’ Ryan Miller will be linked to all sorts of teams as trade speculation continues to swirl, but maybe the best landing spot for him would be Long Island, with the young New York Islanders, a team that has a lot of good prospects in the pipeline but is relying for the moment on 38-year-old Evgeni Nabokov as their No. 1 man. Nabokov has been a serviceable addition for the Islanders since they claimed him on waivers in January of 2011, but Miller would be a far more secure long-term answer. He is just 33 and about the only reason the lacklustre Sabres are competitive most nights.
more hockey topics...
While rumours of a possible trade between the Buffalo Sabres and Edmonton Oilers for Ryan Miller have been rampant over the last couple of days, there's one important obstacle that would prevent such a deal from going through.
TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun confirms that the Oilers are among the eight teams on the veteran netminder's no-trade list which his camp submitted to the Sabres in the summer.
Miller, who becomes an unrestricted free agent next July, has been the subject of trade speculation that's only been amplified with Buffalo's 1-6-1 start to the regular season.
added 3:58pm, via Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
This is not to say it’s impossible that Miller would waive it to go to one of those eight teams, but it certainly gives him control of the situation.
At this point, a source told ESPN.com that there have been no such discussions between the Sabres and Miller about any trade scenarios.
How are the Edmonton Oilers reacting to their poor goaltending to start the season?
Bob McKenzie: Devan Dubnyk's sub-par performance on Saturday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs does not have Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish pushing the panic button, but it does have him reaching for the telephone.
As early as Sunday, MacTavish has been working the phones and working them hard to determine the market for goaltenders. They are looking at every possibility, from Anaheim's Jonas Hiller to Buffalo's Ryan Miller to Brian Elliott in St. Louis to Michal Neuvirth in Washington and beyond.
Updated 10:45pm with video from NHL.com
As I write this post, David Poile's Predators are down by one in Denver. (update: now down by 2 as I post it)
But he should probably still be a happy man - because two of the guys competing for his attention in hopes of becoming team USA's starting goaltender in Sochi were putting on a clinic in Buffalo.
Craig Anderson and Ryan Miller stopped 80 of a combined 81 shots (Senators 46, Sabres 35) in a game that seemed like it would never see a goal until Miller's shutout bid was finally broken with 1:35 left in the third on a shot from Erik Karlsson.
Watch the goal that finally beat Miller below.
Ryan Miller sits down with Elliotte Friedman of HNIC and discusses where he is regarding his contract situation with the Sabres plus his views on the change to the goalie equipment and his status with Team USA.
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
Miller apparently will remain in Buffalo through the start of the regular season. General Manager Darcy Regier says the trade window is closed throughout the NHL, so Thomas Vanek and Miller should be wearing Blue and Gold when the puck drops Oct. 2.
“The season begins and talks start again,” Regier said. “We’re approaching it from the standpoint of Ryan’s here, Thomas is here, they’re both in the last year of their deals like a lot of other players in the National Hockey League, and they’re ready to go to work.”
Miller is also ready for incessant trade speculation. Neither he nor Vanek wants an extension at the moment, instead opting to see how the Sabres perform before deciding their free agent fate. The trade talk could continue for a while since deals for goaltenders are uncommon, especially during the season, and not many teams have room for a $6.25 million player.
“If you play long enough, you’re going to have this kind of discussion surround you at some point,” Miller said. “I have to be professional enough to just do the job. I’m able to do a job in a city I’m familiar with and a city I’m pretty much at home. I feel like I’m in a good place.
“I have a lot of goals that I want to accomplish, and a lot of it revolves around me playing good hockey. That’s always the case every year. I’m just trying to approach it that way. It’s another year to play NHL hockey, and that’s a good thing.”
from Corey Masisak of NHL.com,
Miller has been the face of the franchise in Buffalo in recent seasons. But the Sabres have committed to a rebuild and general manager Darcy Regier has said publicly that he is open to trading both Miller and top forward Thomas Vanek after moving captain Jason Pominville before the trade deadline last season.
The most valuable player at the 2010 Winter Olympics knows it could be a tricky situation in the coming months, but Miller does not want his resolution to play out the way it did in Vancouver.
"It seemed to be one of the more talked-about stories," Miller told NHL.com at the U.S. Men's National Team Orientation Camp. "It was interesting that it played out so publicly though. I thought it was an unfortunate distraction for everybody. I don't think it should ever really play out like that. I thought they both handled themselves well, and I thought it was an unfortunate situation that they were kind of cast into. It was nice to see that Cory and Roberto were able to make light of it and take it in stride, but just with the reactions and how strong they were, it was definitely much more serious than they were letting on. It was definitely something that might have affected them.
"Hopefully any of my seasons wherever I'm at don't turn into something like that. You're there to do a job, but it is a business. If you're going to get traded, hopefully it is just ... you're traded. It is not like a huge buildup or a huge debate or anything. Hopefully it is a little more cut and dried than that."
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.