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Buffalo columnist unloads on Ryan Miller, wants him traded

Dec 20, 2011, 8:29 AM EDT

Ryan Miller AP

The problems the Sabres have been having this season after spending so much money this summer are making everyone cranky, including columnist Jerry Sullivan from The Buffalo News.

Sullivan has had it with the Sabres losing ways and wants to see things change drastically. He wants to see GM Darcy Regier fired, coach Lindy Ruff fired, and trades to be made all over the place. Most of his frustrated vitriol, however, was saved for Ryan Miller.

Sullivan says that owner Terry Pegula’s harsh words for his team’s goaltending were pointed at Miller and says that Miller’s poor performance this season is due in part to something much more personal. He also says Miller’s mind might be elsewhere because his wife is in California.


Piggybacking off of Bucky Gleason’s assertion that Miller trade talks happened with the Anaheim Ducks for Bobby Ryan is a daring move and one that only helps feed the fire for talk that Miller might actually want to be out of Buffalo. Sullivan sticks to his point, however, saying that there’s no longer any reason to consider Miller untouchable and that dealing him before his value falls off further would hurt the team.

Getting Miller figured out serves the Sabres better than trading him when his value is at its lowest. Besides, repeating the mistake the Sabres made when they traded Dominik Hasek for Slava Kozlov back in 2001 doesn’t sound like a recipe for championships to happen in the first place.

  1. jdragon2 - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:46 AM

    Jerry Sullivans opinions aren’t worth the effort to read them. He’s consistantly playing devil’s advocate and has been against Ruff/Regier/Miller for years, even while we are streaking/winning the conference/in the playoffs etc….

    Frankly speaking hes an arrogant columnist who thinks his opinions are the final say on anything.

    • obamablowz - Dec 20, 2011 at 10:37 PM

      I’m not a Buffalo fan, but if the team has NEVER won a cup, why not make some changes?

      • obamablowz - Dec 20, 2011 at 10:38 PM

        Also, if you are saying that Buffalo is “streaking playoffs etc” HALF THE TEAMS IN THE LEAGUE GET IN THE PLAYOFFS!!!! Making the playoffs is not a difficult thing to do in the NHL.

  2. pastabelly - Dec 20, 2011 at 9:37 AM

    Trading proven goalies who happen to be in a slump is not a great move. The Bruins were lucky to find no takers last year when they tried to deal Thomas (who played injured the previous season). Miller might be hurt now or just in a slump. The only current slumping goalie that should be dumped by anyone is Luongo, who is an overpaid head case. The Sabres won’t be winning anything without a healthy and hot Miller.

    • bcousy - Dec 20, 2011 at 12:43 PM

      I agree completely that you shouldn’t trade proven goalies in a slump — I believe that’s what’s known as “selling low.”

      Full disclosure — Canucks fan here. I’m not a big fan of Luongo’s, and agree that his biggest problem is between the ears (and his glove hand). I also wouldn’t mind seeing him traded IF the deal is right.

      But I don’t think I’d describe him as slumping now (as opposed to the first six weeks of the season): He’s 6-0-1 in his last seven appearances with nine goals allowed. And although his meltdowns were truly remarkable in the opening round and in the Cup finals, he did backstop his team to Game 7 while posting two shutouts in the finals. I’d take that over Ryan Miller’s playoff resume.

      And although he is earning $10 million this season, I wouldn’t describe him as overpaid, at least from a cap perspective. His cap hit is around $5 million, which I *believe* ranks him 10th or so among active goalies. I’d say he’s better than 20 starters in the league. The real problem is contract term (11 or so years left?), coupled with a no-trade clause.

      I like the Canucks’ chances better with Schneider (still a bit of a wild card, though). But colossal meltdowns aside, I wouldn’t completely write off Luongo as incapable of winning a Cup (although he is unlikely to CARRY a team to a Cup, as Thomas did). Far worse goalies (hello, Red Wings!) have taken a lap with the Cup aloft.

      • whatswellydoing - Dec 20, 2011 at 1:48 PM

        All good points. There is a trade clause that kicks at year 9 I think. Lu also has the option to demand a trade, or something like that, at year 7 I believe. But I don’t think anyone expects him to play out the contract in full.

        He’s also shown he has the ability to carry a team (when he first came to Vancouver). And when you think about it, he’s really only had trouble with one team. At the end of the day, he’s still a top five goalie in this league with a decent cap hit.

      • elvispocomo - Dec 20, 2011 at 2:11 PM

        He’s not earning $10M this season, although he was paid $10M last season. He’s being paid $6.72M this year but his cap hit at $5.33M is still better than Miller, Ward, Lundqvist, Kiprusoff and Bryzgalov (And even Huet! What’s that Chicago? You found a loophole for bad contracts that saved your ass?), so we just have to worry about the length of the deal.

        Otherwise I do agree with your counter-points – although it’s debatable on straight playing ability who’s better of the two goalies – to pastabelly, who seems to have not read his own post.

      • elvispocomo - Dec 20, 2011 at 2:22 PM

        And it’s 5 years and 7 years for the clauses. At 5 years the Canucks agree to accommodate Luongo if he asks for a trade and at 7 years Luongo agrees to accommodate the Canucks if they ask to trade him. He could still waive his NTC at any point before then anyways.

        If ever in doubt, always check

  3. rsl22 - Dec 20, 2011 at 10:28 AM

    How bout Semin and Vokoun for Kassian and Miller?

    • rsl22 - Dec 20, 2011 at 11:26 AM

      Are the 5 thumbs down from Caps fans or Sabres fans?

      • cshearing - Dec 20, 2011 at 11:45 AM

        Active brain fans.

      • hague507 - Dec 21, 2011 at 3:54 PM

        As a Caps fan, I’ll give you Semin and Vokoun for a six pack and an order of those famous wings you guys got.

  4. babar61 - Dec 20, 2011 at 10:30 AM

    I always thought Miller was over rated anyway.

    • elvispocomo - Dec 20, 2011 at 2:18 PM

      Pretty tough to say that when he was one of if not the best player for the US in the Olympics two years ago. I’m a Team Canada and Canucks fan (therefore you’d think I’d side with Luongo) but Miller was the better goalie in that tournament. It doesn’t help he’s been on a mediocre team in Buffalo for some time now and still kept them afloat.

  5. rabidbillsfan - Dec 20, 2011 at 10:58 AM

    Sullivan is a tool-box. He just likes to spout off becuase even though he doesn’t make sense, people still read his garbage. Miller is in a massive slump, but so is the other half of the team. If his logic were true, we should trade Stafford, Gerbe, Leino, Roy, Hecht, Gaustad, Kaleta, Enroth, Myers, Leopold, MAG, Sekera, and Weber. Trading Miller now would be like the Bills trading Fitz now. No value and huge contracts. Miller will break out of his funk, but he needs alot of help from the guys in front of him. The Philly game comes to mind. Miller was pulled like 7 min. into the game for allowing 3 goals in that span. What really caused 2 of them was give aways in their own zone. I could see where he’s coming from with firing Lindy, but I really don’t think he is at fault here. Look at the way the rookies are playing, and Vanek and Pominville have been centered by 3 diffrent players this season with the same results. He fixed Ennis, and when Myers comes back to true full-strength, we’ll see what happens there. If for maybe a strretch of 5 games or so we could go without any injuries I think we can right this ship. Something usually Happens to this team after Christmas anyways, and unlike last year, we are already in playoff contention, so lets see what happens from here on out before we blow things up.

  6. pftbillsfan - Dec 20, 2011 at 11:01 AM

    obviously the top 2 comments don’t actually like statistics to back up opinions. Miller has been around the 10th best goalie season to season except for one great year which was not the rule but the exception for him. He is consistently average and the GAA and career save percentage tell the same story. Being marketed well doesn’t mean your untouchable, and frankly Sullivan is well respected and largely leaves emotion out of his articles so that he basis his points in facts not feelings.

  7. buffalomafia - Dec 20, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    First of all owner Terry Pegula should get out of the 70’s & quit worrying about the past & former Sabres!

    Why would you trade Miller to a West Coast team to be by his wife? The Sabres should trade him to a team to get equal value or better! Don’t accomodate Miller cause he is pussy whipped!

    Second, doesn’t anyone from Buffalo ask Miller why he always gets burnt up high cause he is always on his knees? Miller equals the high life & it ain’t Miller Beer!

    Third the Sabres do more passing than Brett Favre & Peyton Manning instead of shooting the puck & crashing the net!? Turn on a game on CBC or Versus & watch other teams score with precision!

    Why put Fitz in same sentence as Miller when Fitz sucks & robbed Ralph Wilson of Millions & Ryan Miller is top 3 goalie in world!? Pleeeease! Let Miller get over him missing his wife & he will be fine!

    On a positive note the Sabres are playing pretty well for being an injured team!

  8. gnrfan8804 - Dec 20, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    with the exception of Pominville and Vanek, both having OUTSTANDING years, the whole team Is struggling. Stafford got his pay day, now he’s playing like garbage. Roy is garbage. Leino is definitely a waste of money so far. Myers was playing awful until he got benched, played 2 great games, got hurt. it can’t all be on Millers shoulders. Gotta play better in front of him. Sabres definitely need a number one , big, nasty, skilled center. IF they trade Miller without getting that in return, then its just a waste.

  9. rexadelphia8 - Dec 20, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    I’m a flyers fan but miller is a brick wall when he’s hot. Give him some rope. He’s like bryzgolov here

  10. buffalomafia - Dec 20, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    @rexadelphia8- your Flyers would have won more Stanely Cups if you had a batter goalie for playoffs? The rest of Flyers are solid!

  11. buffalomafia - Dec 20, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    Again do not trade Miller cause he wants to be by his wife!

    Trade him to a team for quality not mediocrity! If Miller keeps playing like crap then send him to Rochester!

    Hey Pegula let me be your new GM?

  12. buffalotears - Dec 20, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    Jerry Sullivan and Ryan Miller also had to be split up after a game against the Islanders last year. The two were dropping f-bombs in front of young children. They have a personal vendetta, but both act childish a lot of the time.

  13. braddavery - Dec 20, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    Jerry Sullivan is awful and in no way speaks for all Buffalo sports fans.

  14. drewsylvania - Dec 20, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    Maybe Miller’s still a great goalie, but all his complaining this year makes him seem like Roberto Luongo. The team didn’t have his back when he got run, which makes me wonder whether the rest of the team has faith in him. Faith might be the difference between a Cup and elimination.

  15. cliverush - Dec 20, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    Get rid of Miller. He is sulking around like a little school boy. Get value for him while you can.

  16. leninthebuff - Dec 26, 2011 at 11:33 AM

    Before trades are made in a panic, I think it’s time to re-evalute having Regier and Ruff here…Fire one or both. They have been together for 14-15 yrs and we have not won anything, I think it’s time for a change. My opinion is fire both, Regier wasted good money on Boyes, Erhoff and Leino and Ruff has just gone stale here YOU”RE FIRED!!!!!

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