Ryan Miller is facing quite a arduous situation this year. His Sabres have been severely downgraded from “Stanley Cup favorite” to “playoff hopeful” due to the loss of Chris Drury and Daniel Briere. In fact, no other starting goaltender will have to deal with nearly this type of tumultuous roster turnover. So why is Miller so darn excited for the season to start?
Well, it’s all in how you look at things.
Anyone will tell you that pessimism has no place in the mind of a starting goaltender, so the pressure of knowing he has to play like the league’s MVP is something that Miller is really looking forward to.
For when you come so close to winning it all and then lose two vital components – two co-captains with career-high point outputs to be exact – nothing seems fair. Like sand escaping your clutches, all you can take from the loss is the experience. But you live to see another day, and for Miller, that day has been in the back of his mind all summer long.
Now the dawn of a new day has finally come, giving him the chance to prove everyone wrong by leading his team to the Stanley Cup Playoffs once again.
“Everyone on our team has taken a step forward as far as experience goes, so I don’t doubt that we have the team to get back there again, Miller explained. “Everyone has been talking about losing Drury and Briere, who obviously were key parts of the team, but we also learned a lot from them. Our guys are going to step up and play a bigger role this year and our core group of players are going to be real exciting to watch.”
While players like Maxim Afinogenov and Thomas Vanek obviously come to mind, how are they going to compete with a team like the Penguins or the Rangers? The answer most definitely lies in Miller’s play. In fact, he’s answered these persistent questions the same way all summer long – two talented players don’t define a team completely. For everyone knows a championship squad starts from the net out.
“They did a lot for us but we also did a lot for them, so it was a complete team effort and that is kind of what they taught us and preached to us through their leadership,” Miller said regarding Drury and Briere. “But my attitude is not going to change and I have encouraged my players not to change their attitude either. Leadership is going to be a learning experience early in the season for us, so the only question should be ab