The start of the 2013 has not been kind to the Buffalo Sabres. The defence has been pitiful, they’re playing like they could care less, the coach is failing to inspire them and as a result they find themselves 13th in the Eastern Conference with the possibility to land a top 5 draft pick. Obviously not what fans had in mind for this season as the playoffs seemed like a very real possibility but a third into the season and playoffs look to be a distant dream. As usual when things aren’t going well more heat is placed on certain players and in turn players who are doing their best voice their opinions and that’s exactly what Ryan Miller did in his post game on Sunday after the Sabres dropped a close match with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Miller called out the team’s defence which has been all but invisible to say the least this season. The goaltender’s comments show that he is extremely frustrated with the lack of help he is getting and his team’s poor play. Aside from Thomas Vanek, Ryan Miller is the only Sabres player who has consistently showed up this season and plays a full 60 minute game. Miller has every right to be frustrated by this joke of a Sabres team that is hitting the ice night after night: you think they’ve hit rock bottom one game and they come out and perform even worse the next. I love this team, I really do, but they’ve turned into the joke of the NHL and I’m not sure there’s a way they can climb out of this hole like they did last season. Until this team undergoes a management change they will continue to go through a downward spiral- doesn’t matter who they bring in Lindy Ruff will ruin it.
Anyways back to Ryan Miller, there’s a hidden message to be found in Miler’s post game comments where he absolutely lost it, and that’s the fact he’s done in
Buffalo. Miller is calling out for help, saying he’s giving it all he can but he can’t do anymore without some help from the rest of the team. The sad thing is that even with the Sabres playing horrible defence Miller has bailed them out time after time and gives them a chance every night, posting a .915 Save Percentage which is pretty decent considering what’s playing in front of him. Miller has been standing on his head facing close to 500 shots (498) which is the most in the entire league and speaks volumes to how poor the defence is. On any other team people would be singing Miller’s praises for keeping his team in games and stealing games they have no business winning, instead he’s getting ripped for games the team hasn’t shown up for. This season is not Miller’s fault; he’s doing everything he can and he’s tired of it all.
What you take away from Miller’s little meltdown is he doesn’t plan on playing for the Sabres much longer- while he probably wont pull a Tim Thomas and refuse to play because he’s got some self respect, I would be utterly shocked if he’s still wearing blue and gold past next season. Whether you want to believe it or not Ryan Miller is one of the top goalies in the NHL, and he deserves a team that will at least show up in front of him he truly deserves better. Next season is the last year of the goaltenders contract before he becomes a Unrestricted Free Agent meaning he can go anywhere he wants and by the sound of things is already looking forward to getting out of dodge. But if the Sabres are smart they’ll trade him to get a decent return instead of letting him walk for nothing, by the
trade-deadline next season if Miller isn’t entertaining contract talks with the Sabres it would be a safe bet to say he could be gone.
Miller knows that under this management and with this group of players this Buffalo Sabres team isn’t going anywhere. Miller still has maybe 6 years left to be a top notch number 1 goalie and win a Stanley Cup and that’s not going to happen in Buffalo which is why he’s made up his mind he won’t be returning after next season.