We are just about one month away from the start of training camp, and it looks like the roster is going to be just about set and ready for the season.
One thing that will look very similar is the goaltending situation.
Much to the chagrin of the Sabres fan, is the return of Patrick Lalime to the backup duties of Buffalo goaltenders. With only 9 wins in 40 games played for the Sabres over the past two season, it is a head scratching move as to why he was brought back, when there were several other options available at the same price, or even cheaper. At this point in his career, Lalime probably signed a deal with the Sabres in a heartbeat, as there are not many teams that will pay a backup what Lalime makes for the return that he gives.
Lalime is not a bad backup goaltender, at least when he gets a decent amount of game time. Sitting on the Buffalo bench watching Ryan Miller for weeks on end between games freezes the veteran backup, and Ryan Miller runs the risk of having to play in relief of Lalime on his nights off.
It will be interesting how Ryan Miller responds after winning a Silver medal and the Vezina in the same year. The Zen master sacrificed a year of his life to live nothing but hockey. He admitted himself that he gave up a lot in order to maintain his focus for the game. Will the Sabres netminder continue that Jedi like focus for his game, or will he just show up and play like everyone else in the lineup?
Ryan probably had a lot to do with Lalime returning to the lineup. The two have really seemed to connect over the past two seasons, and Miller is quick to defend Lalime. Whether this is a true friendship born on the ice or a smoke screen of not wanting to chuck a fellow teammate under the bus, it shows Ryan is loyal to a guy that wears the same sweater into battle.
If the Sabres are going to continue to rely on Ryan Miller has the back bone of this organization, they are going to have to man up and do something with the guys in front of him. Miller is a stand up individual; but everyone has a price, and frustration levels have to be high.
***Hockey Fact***Did you know that as much recognition as Clarence Campbell gets – he is not a well liked man in Montreal. In 1955 he suspended Maurice “The Rocket” Richard for the final three games of the regular season and the entire playoffs for punching a linesmen. The linesmen was holding Richard back and that allowed a Bruins player to repeatedly punch The Rocket. Campbell attended a Montreal/Detroit game after the suspension and a riot ensued inside the arena, and spilled outside onto the streets, causing the league to forfeit the game to the Red Wings.