Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thoughts From Game Seven, Miller Deserves Credit

The teams exchange hand-shakes following the
conclusion of their first round series.
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Well I will be the first to admit I firmly believed the Buffalo Sabres would emerge from Game Seven as the victors.  I'm not afraid or embarrassed to admit that either.  My post from Tuesday proves me guilty without trial.  But the thing is I do not want to apologize for believing in them.  I have no urge to take back anything that I said... Whatsoever!  Who would have thought that this team would come out in the first period looking completely dead?  Not me.  I did not expect that at all.  I did not expect to be out-shot in the first period 16-2.  I did not expect the Sabres to come out flat and uninspired.  I didn't expect to lose, period.  But maybe my expectations were just too high.

I want to talk about our goaltender for a little bit.  Anyone who trashed Ryan Miller, simply put in as few words as possible, you disgust me.  Out of the Philadelphia Flyers' five goals Tuesday night, I would personally say that in my opinion, four of the five were not something Miller had a legit chance at saving.  Especially the Flyers' third goal which was deflected on the top of Miller's crease by James van Riemsdyk.  Game highlights can be viewed here.  Unless you have a hundredth-of-a-second reaction time and are superhuman, you cannot stop that puck.  Ryan was in good position all night.  He played his ass off.  Anyone who has played the goaltender position before, regardless of sport, can vouch for Ryan Miller and his performance in Game Seven.  It is a shame the team could do nothing to help him.  Ryan Miller single-handedly kept us in the game through the first period in which the Sabres were completely out-shot and out-played.  The Sabres were lucky to come out of that period only down by one goal.  For anyone who made fun of Miller's performance... wow do I pray for you (to get hit by a Greyhound bus).

So let's get this straight.  If you, the Ryan Miller hater, had your way, Miller would leave the team freeing up $6.25M of cap space.  Jhonas Enroth would most likely take over even though he has only 15 games of regular season experience and less than one game of postseason experience.  After that, you would be satisfied.  Right?  I know the defensive core in extremely young, but c'mon.  Five of our eight defensemen currently on the roster are under the age of 25.  I don't think defense, let alone our goaltending, is our problem looking towards the future.  The attention needs to be focused on our top three lines.  Losing Miller and starting Enroth is not the answer to success in the next few years for the Sabres.  They need a top center.  Near the end of the series, the Sabres' top three centers were Rob Niedermayer, Cody McCormick, and Matt Ellis.  A team is not going to make it far in the playoffs with a depth chart like that.  Give thanks again to horribly timed injuries; I'll talk about those later.  I'm glad to know that Miller-haters look forward to the future of this team.  How can you possibly trash the guy?  I don't get it.  Some people watching the game with me Tuesday night just angered me.  It amazed me how the majority of the people besides a very select few immediately gave up on the Sabres once they fell behind.  Some even after the Flyers scored the first goal.  You people seriously have no belief in your team?  How are they ever going to win when you back out on them in the most important times?  Those types of people disgust me.  The sad thing is the majority of Buffalo sports-fans fall under that category.  I commend you if you do not.  For the others, I just don't get it.  I really hope that all of the Miller-haters out there are happy.  Or should I call you Sabre-haters?  By turning your back on Ryan Miller, you are essentially turning your back on the whole team.  You know who you are.  I don't want to point fingers though.  So don't take it personal.

A great deal of injury news was released today now that the season is in the books.  Finally Lindy Ruff and the rest of the management can stop being secretive about the status of the lineup.  The biggest story of them all is that Ryan Miller finally came to the truth.  He stated that the reason he missed time near the end of the season, when Enroth was filling in, was because he had sustained a concussion.  Four shots ringing off his helmet in one week built up enough to keep him out of the lineup.  It was originally thought that Miller was being held out for an injured collarbone.  Miller did acknowledge his collarbone was badly bruised, but he said the concussion symptoms were the deciding factor.  It was also mentioned that the reason Patrick Kaleta sat out of Game Seven was because he broke his hand in Game Six.  More injury releases relating to Andrej Sekera, Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek, Tyler Myers & Tim Connolly as well as news on Mike Grier can be read here at Die By The Blade.

P.S. Note To Self:  Never watch a game at a crappy tavern that plays CD's of The Eagles and other random bands over playing RJ's call during the most pivotal game of the Sabres' season.  Even after asking the bartender to put the game on, it never happened.  I think I'll watch from the comfort of my own home next time.

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