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Ryan Miller Deserves Better

Linski’s List

By Justin Maskulinski
On April 29, 2013

Take a flashback to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The host country, Canada, had just won the gold medal and the United States finished second. Ryan Miller, USA's goaltender, was named the tournament MVP despite allowing the game winning goal. Miller allowed eight goals in the six games he played and posted a 1.35 goals against average (GAA).

That's a pretty impressive stat, and in that February, Miller was without a doubt in the prime of his career.

Come back to the present day and you will see Miller listed as the starter for the Buffalo Sabres and still putting up decent numbers despite being on a team that missed the playoffs. Miller played his 500th NHL game last Friday when he suited up as the Sabres starter in a 2-1 shootout win as the Sabres completed their 2012-13 campaign.

Miller was the last player to leave the ice for the Sabres as he stayed on the ice and waved to the Buffalo faithful.

Hopefully that was Miller's last game with the Sabres: he deserves better.

I will happily admit this is a biased article: I am a Sabres fan. I have been a fan of the Sabres as long as I can remember and I have seen too many good players come through the organization and lead the team in a way that foreshadows success, only to end ultimately in failure.

Miller has one year remaining on his current contract with Buffalo and my hope is that the Sabres front office will trade him to a team on the west coast where he can be closer to his wife, Noureen DeWulf, who is an actress in Los Angeles. Miller deserves that.

Often times athletes can only carry a team so far and then it is just best they go their separate ways. Former Sabres goaltender Dominik Hasek was the same way, he was with the Sabres when they went to the Stanley Cup Final in 1999 and ultimately lost to the Dallas Stars.

Hasek ended up going to the Detroit Red Wings and won a Cup in 2001-2002. Hasek won six Vezina Trophies with the Sabres for being named the National Hockey League's (NHL) best goaltender. Hasek deserved to win a cup: he earned it.

I do not know if Miller could win a cup on a different team, but I am positive he won't with the Sabres.

In 2006-2007 the Sabres won the President's Trophy for having the best regular season record and ended up falling in the playoffs to the Ottawa Senators. The fact they lost was disappointing, but General Manager Darcy Regier also failed to sign not one, but two of their top scorers in Daniel Briere and Chris Drury. The co-captains were two of the top three scorers for the Sabres in the regular season and combined for four game winning goals in the playoffs.

The Sabres fired the longest tenured coach in the NHL in February after they had a slow start. To make matters worse, when the NHL was nearing its trade deadline the Sabres traded away three veterans, including Captain Jason Pominville, for seven draft picks and two prospects.

It is safe to say the Sabres are entering a rebuilding phase as Regier dismantles the mediocre team he assembled.

The Sabres did not make the playoffs this year and their rebuilding might keep them out of serious contention for a little while and Miller is not getting any younger, he will turn 33 this summer.

Four of the past six teams to win the Stanley Cup have had a former Buffalo Sabre on their team, so maybe it's Miller's turn to enjoy success. He deserves it. 

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