6 Things

1. Happy Valentine’s Day, all you lovable little chickadees! Whether you are in a couple, or as single as single can be, take a minute today to close your eyes and send a few extra love vibes out into the world. After that, celebrate Valentine’s Day however you see fit. Personally, I prefer the “eat some candy-hearts and then otherwise go about my business,” method of celebration.

2. Maybe it’s because of Valentine’s Day (and my belly full of soul-nourishing candy hearts), but I’m just not too worried about the Islanders game. I mean, seriously.  It was one game.  The Sabres kept pace with the Hurricanes, the offense looked robust, Drew Stafford is completely blowing our minds, and it’s warm enough outside that some of this snow is finally going to melt.  Chin up, soldiers!

The bad news: Miller was terrrrrrible (Bad, Ryan!  Bad!), and the defense looked quite poopy.

3. Apparently, things got all cranky and bitch-slappy during the postgame, but whatevs.  People get cranky sometimes, especially cranky goalies when they are in cranky moods. I don’t think I care what goes on between Ryan Miller and the local media. Sometimes Miller’s going to be a brat because he’s a crazy-assed goalie, and being a brat kind of comes with the territory.  *shrug*

Here’s a dramatic interpretation of events that would rouse my genuine interest:

Vogl: Did you feel okay?
Crunchy: (screeching) WHAT ARE YOU IMPLYING?!
Sullivan: He’s not implying anything!
Crunchy: Why don’t you let him speak for himself?!
Vogl: …feces?
Sullivan: You’ve given up 4 goals or more 14 times this season, LOSER.
*Crunchy karate-chops Jerry Sullivan*

Call me if (when?) Miller karate-chops Jerry Sullivan, but until then, I’m unmoved.

(For the record- I have absolutely no problem with how Vogl handled himself in the audio I heard, so it’s probably not very nice of me to reference his famous “feces” twitter-analysis.  But I couldn’t resist.)

4. Would it be nice if Ryan Miller returned to Vezina form? Absoluuutely. Is it reasonable to demand that he do so?  Sadly, no.  Frowny faces all around.  :(

Corey Griswold made a pretty good case yesterday on Twitter that the Miller we’re seeing this season is the real Miller, and that last season was an anomaly. (I believe Corey used the Malcolm Gladwell-approved word, “outlier” to describe Crunchy’s last season.) Corey used a bunch of stats to make this point, so, you can rest assured that numbers and mathematics were consulted when I came to the following conclusion:  Every needs to calm the eff down about Crunchy.

I’m not in the mood to get all pissy about Ryan Miller. He’ll be fine. He’s just doing his thing and unfortunately that thing does not include winning the Vezina every year. That’s a bummer for us.

The Sabres lost yesterday because of Ryan Miller. It’s true. Deal with it.

Be glad it doesn’t happen very often.

If you really have your undies in a bunch about Ryan Miller, you can begin crossing your fingers that he gets traded before the deadline. (Lemme know how that works out for you.)

5. That said, a competent backup goalie would be REALLY HANDY right now.  I have no idea what’s got Miller all out of sorts, but it sure would be nice if there was another NHL-ready goalie on the team. Riding Miller into the ground has always seemed like a bad plan, but it seems like a particularly bad plan this season.

Not only is it a bad plan on an intuitive level (I mean honestly, look at Ryan Miller. He looks like he belongs on a Depression-era soup line), but we’ve seen AMPLE evidence that Miller is not up to the task.  It didn’t work when Lindy played Miller for the entire second half of 07/08, it didn’t work when Lindy played Miller for the entire second half of 08/09, and Miller was not particularly sharp in the playoffs last season (an Olympic year).  In my opinion we’ve waded WELL into “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,” territory.

The Sabres need another competent, NHL-caliber goalie on the roster, and they also need a coach who is willing to play him.  They will need this for every year that Ryan Miller is on the team.  (Mr. Pegula, if you’re reading this [and I assume you are], you might want to add that to the list of “needs”.)

6. The thing we really should be talking about today isn’t, “Ryan Miller vs The Local Media, Hair Pulling Galore!”  We should be talking about the wondrous, shocking, titillating, confusing, glorious, and jaw-dropping recent play of Drew Stafford.

Yesterday during the game, Kevin Snow tweeted that Staffy had six goals, on his last six shots.  THAT’S RIGHT, YOU FURRY BEEYOTCHES.  Six shots. Six goals.

Personally, I have absolutely no idea how to analyze Staffy these days.  He’s a mystery, wrapped in a hat trick, and smothered with club sauce.  Staffy is currently the most beloved wonky-browed player on the Sabres, which is title I NEVER thought could be wrestled from Ryan Miller’s bony grasp. This is a stunner, Sabres fans.

Behold, our new Wonky-Browed King:

Nice highlights, Staffy.


10 Responses to “6 Things”

  1. 1 Kate-O February 14, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    And for Staffy’s efforts, he’s one of the week’s three stars for the ENTIRE NHL!!! We should be talking about that, for sure. Yes, we lost yesterday because of Ryan, but I am in total agreement that we can’t expect him to live up to his Vezina year every season. And, Vogl’s question was totally legitimate. Miller’s response was understandable, given that he’d just had a REALLY bad day at work. But, Stafford is the week’s second star!! Did anyone ever think we’d see that?

  2. 2 James February 14, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    I have a theory that Miller would be a lot better off if the Sabres had a back up goalie that was capable of playing around 30 games a season and having a W/L % near what Miller does.

    That way Miller is fresh come playoff time.

    And that’s not even getting into whether Miller is overpaid or not……..

  3. 3 Amy February 14, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    I would laugh if Stafford made a “thanks for stealing my spotlight yesterday, arsehole” comment to Miller at practice this morning.

  4. 4 PKB February 14, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    I have no idea how a typical conversation between Miller and Vogl goes and I didn’t have a problem with Vogl’s original question. I just felt when Miller asked him to clarify, “I don’t know where you’re going with that.” Vogl danced and repeated himself and that’s not cool. Vogl’s follow-ups only elevated the tension. All Vogl had to do was clarify so everyone could move forward. Miller didn’t want (and shouldn’t need) to choose what exactly Vogl meant because then people can just go any direction with it. Think how it could have gone. Well Miller wasn’t asked specifically whether he needs rest but he mentioned it soooo.

    If things went according to how Riter describes them and Sully brought up that 4 goal stat it was a total attack to antagonize Miller. And it worked in front of a bunch of kids. Sweet.

    I don’t want to write about this because I’m on Twitter so I’m supposed to hate Vogl, right? Miller was frustrated but it’s the job of the communicators to get the answers out of him. I think I’m in the minority on all of this.

  5. 5 Katebits February 14, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    You know Paul, I’ll admit, all of the the follow-up stuff on the audio sounded like a couple of teenage girls squabbling to me. I’d have to listen to it again to really comment specifically, but I also thought the follow-up questioning was sort of sub-par. On the other hand, I really do think, “Did you feel okay?” is a perfectly reasonable and adequately crafted question. When Miller responded the way he did he wasn’t asking for clarification. He was accusing Vogl of something. I can’t blame Vogl for being flustered by the response he got. But perhaps you’re right- maybe a different journalist would’ve gotten something more out of the exchange other than a juvenile, “What do you mean by that?” “What do YOU mean by that?”

    There are two things that are interesting about this to me that I haven’t seen addressed anywhere.

    1. Sullivan didn’t mention anything about the second part of the confrontation in his column. I think that’s pretty interesting. Does he know believe he crossed a line with his statement about the 4 goal stat? I have no idea. But why would he be so ANGRY towards Miller? (One thing I have to say I liked about Vogl’s response to Miller was that he really gave NO indication that he was taking Miller’s reaction personally. He didn’t get mad, and whether it was effective or not, his followups certainly did not seem blatantly antagonistic.) Why did Jerry Sullivan take it to such a nasty level? Seems weird to me. (And please, peanut gallery. SPARE ME the insistence that in other, bigger markets, Ryan Miller would have to face a dozen raging Jerry Sullivans after every game. That may be true, but the absence of belligerence does not necessarily equal “kid gloves,” or unthoughtful questioning.)

    2. Did Brad Riter break some sort of unwritten writer-ly code by blogging about this incident? How come no one else addressed it, including Jerry?

  6. 6 PKB February 14, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Well once Miller became upset with the question there was no follow-up that was going to get a good answer out of him. Specific questions like are you tired or are you 100% healthy are going to get nothing answers.

    Maybe I’m giving Vogl to much credit but… the idea must have been to ask an open question and see what Miller gives you. They probably have a good rapport. Miller just didn’t want to speak with the media that night. Most days “do you feel ok” probably elicits a friendly response. But he knew the story was going to be his having allowed 7 goals. The question was, as you said, perfectly reasonable and adequately crafted. It was the follow-up because he could have thrown water on the entire thing. Instead he just stood and watched him burn.

    All Vogl had to say when Miller got upset was oh I’m just wondering if you’re 100% healthy. Then Miller says yes. Then someone else asks a question and then someone else and then the interview ends as a non story.

    To your last point on Riter. I thought the same thing when I first read his post. I was shocked at how detailed Riter was on the unrecorded portion of the incident. I’m glad he did because Sully needs to be responsible for his behavior in the locker room too. Now everyone knows how it went.

  7. 7 Katebits February 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    But why would Vogl really want to throw water on the situation? Vogl got a fantastic story out of this, while staying well within the bounds of appropriate behavior. If Miller doesn’t want to come across as a spaz, he’s got to be in better control than this. Personally, I’m not that offended or worried about how Miller responded, but it did make for a nice juicy Sabres news day. Isn’t that Vogl’s real job?

    Sullivan’s part is different. It sounds like he’s going to be on Schopp and the Bulldog and I’m interested in what he’s got to say.

    As for Riter, I’m glad he wrote about this too.

  8. 8 Tom February 14, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    This is typical Sullivan. It’s not the first time he’s incited a player into something, then neglected to mention that he did when his column came out.

    Had no problem with Vogl. His questions were fine. Miller didn’t handle them that well, but that’s to be expected with you just cost your team a game. Miller probably isn’t proud, but it’s an emotion sport. That happens.

    Sullivan on the other hand tossed gasoline on a fire, and he knew it. Him making that comment about Miller’s 4 goal games is no different than a fan sitting above the tunnel heckling. He knew it would piss Miller off, and it did.

    I won’t even bother to listen to him on WGR today. His comments are predictable. He’ll criticize Miller for not being able to handle criticism, and ignore the fact that he was complicit in riling up Miller that much more. He’ll play innocent, as always, and continue to overstate how ‘important’ sports media is in this town.

  9. 9 S. Tooth February 14, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Ruff and Regier have always always been terrible at the backup goalie thing, except for when they got lucky with Biron. I understand getting a goalie who’s past his prime to backup your goalie, but they seem to take that to the extreme and get the scrubbiest of scrub goalies to be their backup. Yes that means Lalime was a scrub. So was Thibault. Why they didn’t keep Conklin or Leighton around while they could was absolutely beyond me. Case in point: the 2001-2002 season – Biron was the entrenched starter. He played 72 games(!) but didn’t finish all of them. Noronen was the backup but because they didn’t have complete faith in him, Bob Essensa, grizzled backup, came in and went 0-5-0 with an .850 save percentage. The Sabres were 5th in the Northeast that year. Noronen never really got a shot once Miller came up. This isn’t a Mika Noronen apology, but it just shows how mismanaging R&R have been at goaltenders and part of the reason I’m leaning towards them leaving.

  10. 10 Target30 February 14, 2011 at 8:18 pm


    I liked this article from broad street hockey on Miller. It gives a better and reassuring look at his season. I uncurled myself from the fetal position after reading it.

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