Kukla's Korner

23 Intently Staring Goalies

The Ryan Miller Mystery

I’m probably like a lot of people in Buffalo, wondering what exactly is going on inside Ryan Miller’s head. After this weekend’s performance, along with what the owner had to say, my predilection is to pull Ryan Miller immediately and put them through a couple more tests, specifically a guided EEG,  because I want to find out exactly what is going wrong, and whether it’s his brain or his mind—or both.

He didn’t exactly come screaming out of the gate this season, which isn’t anything new, after the hits he’s taken his behavior has become more and more erratic. It’s understandable for goalie who’s been hit to come back either a bit hit shy or come back looking to swing at anything that happens to come anywhere near him. Miller seem to take the latter track, and given that the rest of the team didn’t seem to be in the mood to offer scads of support when he was first getting hit, I don’t blame him.

On other hand, he also seems to have suddenly he had his mind frequently elsewhere. He’s taking so many "trips to the planet Mongo" he ought to be getting intergalactic frequent flyer miles. I watch him play, and his mind seems to flicker elsewhere and unfortunately this is usually when the opposing players are shooting.

After this weekend’s snide statement by the teams new owner you have to wonder whether there are discussions going on in the front office as to if they can trade Ryan Miller for something useful or at least traded him to get him out of there. Problem is, he have to pass a physical before another team would take him on. I don’t think that there’s a team in the NHL was desperate enough for goaltender at this point to give Miller a cursory physical or just bring him on board and hope that the changes scenery will change his attitude.

Mike Harrington at the Buffalo News shares a lot of the same concerns and questions:

So what’s up with Ryan Miller? It’s the biggest question in Sabreland in the wake of Saturday’s 8-3 loss to Pittsburgh, a flameout that saw Miller get pulled twice and owner Terry Pegula issue a surprising and stern rebuke of Miller and Jhonas Enroth.

Miller stayed on the ice at First Niagara Center for more than 90 minutes today working on his game—and was out an extra half-hour after many of his teammates were already out of the building to prep for the flight to Ottawa. When you’re 37th in the NHL in goals-against average (3.12) and 32nd in save percentage (.902), there’s definitely work to be done.

“You want to put it away and you come the next day to do as much as you can to work through it,’ Miller said. “My cousin Kevin taught me that when I was a kid. He played a long time and when he had a bad game, the only thing you can control is how hard you come out and work. I’m trying to put the work in and get caught up to where I need to be.”

What did Miller think of Pegula’s comments?  He had not heard them until they were relayed by The News.

“He owns the team. I guess he wants to see a little bit better play,” Miller said. “I don’t know. It’s for us to come to the rink and work to get better. ... I’m trying to get better and put my best game out there and I obviously didn’t have a very good game. That’s pretty apparent. I got pulled twice. I mean, come on. That’s pretty bad. ... It’s unfortunate we didn’t have a better game. I’m sure Terry [a Pennsylvania native] wanted to see us play better in Pittsburgh.”

More…

Filed in: | 23 Intently Staring Goalies | Permalink
  Tags: buffalo+sabres, pegula, ryan+miller

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About 23 Intently Staring Goalies

23 Intently Staring Goalies comes from the 23 close-up photos of goalies that used to line the walls of my office.

On the good side, it kept down interruptions, but it also made sure I had to leave my trash outside my door if I wanted it picked up.

I've been watching and analyzing goaltenders for going on 40 years. Some of that was spent drawing goalies on my grade 8 math homework. Then it was taking my card decks and printouts to Indianapolis Racer games. Luckily, the Internet took off, and by 1991 I was half of the duo that would ultimately become the Plaidworks hockey mailing lists. I wrote "Handicapping the Goalies' for the San Jose Sharks mailing list, and took a lot of photos of goalies in action. I have around 5000 slides of mostly goaltenders in action from 1989 through 2001 from the WHL, IHL and NHL. Since I've gone digital, I've added about 10,000 more images to the library. During summers and when the league went dark, I was reading through multiple SF By area news papers, tracking ice hockey from the 1917 recreational leagues up through the California Seals.

We'll be talking about goalies and goaltending. We'll talk about whats going on now, who's in the system, and when the doldrums hit, I'll haul something out of the big bag of history, or something from the photo archives. We'll talk about who's hot and why, and who's not and what they can do to get back on track. We'll take a look at the trends in scouting goalies, and why a style may work for one team but not another. I'll battle with my dictation software to get it to understand Bryzgalov and Bobrovsky.

It should be interesting--hope you want to come along for the ride!