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Ryan Miller still defines the Buffalo Sabres

Aug 2, 2012, 8:55 PM EDT

Ryan Miller Getty Images

If we learned one thing about the Buffalo Sabres last season it’s that they are Ryan Miller‘s team and all their promising youngsters and expensive signings hasn’t changed that. The rest of the team isn’t inconsequential — far from it — but by far their most important player is still the man between the pipes.

That became evident last season when Ryan Miller was sidelined with a concussion early in the campaign. For all Jhonas Enroth‘s promise, he wasn’t quite ready to carry the Buffalo Sabres in Miller’s absence. Worse, the rest of the team wasn’t able to bail Miller out when he initially struggled after returning in early December.

Miller’s GAA dropped to an ugly 3.12 after an 8-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Dec. 17.

As the Buffalo News reported, Sabres owner Terry Pegula made a sarcastic comment at the expense of his goaltenders following the contest and Miller admitted that he needed to work through “some bad habits.”

Perhaps missing roughly a month early on in the season messed with his rhythm, but regardless, it would be another month before he turned things around. The good news is that when he finally did bounce back, he was as dominant as ever.

Miller had a 19-6-5 record, 2.08 GAA, and .931 save percentage in 31 games after the All-Star break.

He still defines the Sabres, but given the unusual nature of his 2011-12 campaign, we’re not sure that last season defines him. If his final months are any indication, Miller is perfectly capable of bouncing back in 2012-13 with an all-star caliber showing — and that, more then anything else, would be the key to the Buffalo Sabres finally living up to the high expectations thrust upon them.

  1. 19inarow - Aug 2, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    What I like most about Miller is his consistency. Not enough of that around. He’s what DiPietro was supposed to be.

    • dirte42 - Aug 3, 2012 at 10:12 AM

      are you serious? miller is the most inconsistent goalie i’ve ever had the displeasure of watching! he’ll stand on his head and make an incredible save on an impossible shot, just to turn around and let a weak wrister from the blue line in….

      Mr. Softee strikes again…..

    • rycoem - Aug 3, 2012 at 1:16 PM

      I think he is relatively consistent overall when healthy but also agree he makes you wonder on some of the ones he lets by. Here’s what I’ve noticed: he seems to let in more goals in the last minute of a period than any other goalie. I would love for someone to run the stats on goals allowed in the last minute and the last 2 minutes of any period. My perception is Miller would be at or near the top of that list. Has anyone else noticed this or am I just too focused on it and making it more than it really is?

  2. billsin20xx - Aug 3, 2012 at 8:42 AM

    The problem with Miller is he gets overworked because Ruff isn’t smart enough to balance his schedule out. Miller needs some resrt during the year, hopefully this year Ruff will give Enhroff a fair amount of games and have two good goalies.

    • billsin20xx - Aug 3, 2012 at 1:27 PM

      Meant Enroth, sorry……

  3. buddysguys - Aug 3, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    you are one of the many embarrassments of Pittsburgh has to offer

    • buddysguys - Aug 3, 2012 at 9:20 AM

      that….sorry now i embarrassed my self…

  4. lostpuppysyndrome - Aug 3, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    How does Miller define the Sabres exactly? Small, weak, and whiny? Fair enough.

  5. grlscout - Aug 5, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    Maybe if the guy would spend some time in the crease, he’d actually make a save. I swear, he wants to be a winger.
    I’ll never understand the respect Sabre fans give him. He has cost your team so many games. Lose him, fast!

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