Ryan Miller, You Make Me Want To Be A Better Violist.

Ryan Miller is a fascinating guy.

Brad Ritter has an very interesting post up today. Last night after the game, he headed down to the Sabres locker room and listened in on the very tail end of the interviews.

Since I hadn’t planned on heading downstairs after the game, I went in without a recording device and didn’t bother to write down what I was hearing. Therefore, nothing here will be directly quoted, but I just want to shed a little light on what’s going through Miller’s head as the team works its way back into the playoff race.

According to Miller, early in the year, he was wasting too much time and mental energy on trying to be a leader. He said something along the lines of “I can’t be the captain of this team. I can’t constantly think about the right things to say to you guys or the guys in the room. I need to focus on what’s on my plate and let the other guys do their jobs.”

Apparently, ever since he decided to abandon his “I’m gonna lead” philosophy, things have gone a lot more smoothly for him.

I know I poke a lot of fun at Crunchy, but in truth, I have a lot of respect for how he handles himself on the ice and with reporters. His honesty and willingness to share his mental process with the fans is commendable, and in my case, it’s actually useful.

At the risk of sounding like a total jerk, I believe there are a lot of comparisons to be made between performing music and sports. I would never claim that what I do is anywhere as stressful or emotionally taxing as being a goalie, but the truth is, I’ve spent much of my life in a very competitive environment. I grew up in direct competition with by very best friends, and I continue to audition, perform and compete in my role as a musician. I am currently working on a project where weeks and weeks of hard work will boil down to a five minute, high-pressure situation.

The mental steeliness required to do a job like Miller’s is incredible to witness. I know that for me, this mental steeliness (or lack thereof) has proven to be a far bigger foil than any technical musical passage. For this reason, I am so grateful for these little glimpses into the mindset of Ryan Miller. I’m willing to bet that there are a lot of NHL goalies for whom the required temperament of the job comes naturally (Martin Brodeur comes to mind), but Miller seems to be actively honing this temperament, and I love that about him. Watching him struggle with the realities of the new season has actually been very educational for me. His ability to adapt and his willingness to articulate where he went wrong is something I find personally inspiring.

My sudden and intense interest in hockey has led to some incredible shifts in attitude, but the one I find most interesting is how is has effected my approach to music. I actually think that watching hockey is making me a better violist. I know it’s making me a happier one.

Thanks for being so interesting, Crunchy!

(I know that this post isn’t exactly the normal TWC fare. I guess I’ve just been doing a lot of navel-gazing these days. I’ll try to tone it down and get back to making fun of everyone and everything soon. However, if you’re into this kind of stuff, last spring I wrote a post about Chris Drury that is similar in approach.)

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4 Responses to “Ryan Miller, You Make Me Want To Be A Better Violist.”


  1. 1 Heather B. November 24, 2007 at 7:59 pm

    I love this about Ryan and I hope he never grows out of it. Last night he was clearly upset about the ref and getting it off his chest but I think he was also a little confused and trying to figure out what exactly happened. He often sounds like he’s thinking out-loud and I like seeing his mental process. I’m also not the least bit surprised that he decided he was going to be the leader of the team and then tried to do too much.

    And really, you sound just like him in this entry! I don’t really have much to add to the music aspect but I really like hearing you talk about it here and there. I think it’s so interesting.

  2. 2 DS November 24, 2007 at 10:42 pm

    “Only God saves more than Ryan Miller” – I’m sorry, that was for the last post…:P Hooray for winning! It *is* fun, isn’t it?!

    You’re welcome for the backup goalie, btw; I’m glad to see that’s he’s *finally* gotten his helmet repainted into Buffalo-mode. Shockingly, there appear to be buffalo and sabres on it, though I couldn’t say for certain.

    So what’s this about hockey players and orchestras and New Year’s Eve, hmmm?

  3. 3 elise November 24, 2007 at 11:41 pm

    love this one, kate. thanks!


  1. 1 The Olympics are Good For Me, Part One « The Willful Caboose Trackback on August 3, 2008 at 12:43 am

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