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Miller: Move to Olympic-sized ice will be big adjustment

Jan 2, 2014, 8:57 AM EDT

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 27: Ryan Miller #30 of the Buffalo Sabres gets set to face a shot in the warm-up prior to playing against the Toronto Maple Leafs in an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on December 27, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Leafs defeated the Sabres 4-3 in an overtime shoot-out. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

Although there was never much doubt, we can now officially say that Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller will represent the United States in the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Quick have also made the squad and, as Miller pointed out to, there’s still a good amount of time left before Team USA has to decide who their starting goaltender will be. However, given Howard and Quick’s lukewarm and injury filled 2013-14 campaigns compared to Miller’s stunning performance in the 2010 Games, the Sabres netminder has to be seen as the heavy favorite.

It will be different this time around though as he’ll have to go from playing in an NHL-sized rink to an Olympic one. He’s going to try watching tapes to prepare, but he won’t actually get much of an opportunity to try out the Sochi ice before it’s time to play.

“It’s going to be quite the adjustment to go over there and have maybe one or two practices maybe if that and have to execute,” Miller said. “I’ll have to mentally prepare and do the work in your mind first. I’ll try and squeeze some time in if I can get on the Olympic sheet [in Buffalo]. Maybe I’ll get the keys to the building, sneak in, see what I can do.”

Although that will be an added challenge he’ll have to deal with this time around, he’s obviously looking forward to the games. It’s an opportunity to go to a part of the world he’s never seen before and meet up with athletes he might not otherwise have much of an opportunity to seen.

It’s also a chance for him to deal with some unfinished business after he came tantalizingly close to the gold medal in 2010.

  1. ibieiniid - Jan 2, 2014 at 9:12 AM

    I’ve heard goalies’ concerns about different ice size before, but the only reason I can think that it would be different is that shots from the blue line near the boards are a bit father away and the space behind the net is different. I still can’t understand how that’d be horribly tough to adjust to, and I’m a goalie.

    • ibieiniid - Jan 2, 2014 at 10:06 AM

      so many thumbs, so few legit points against what I said, as always. “more area in general to create chances” (from the comment below) is close, but the size of the prime shooting/passing area remains unchanged.

      • cofran2004 - Jan 2, 2014 at 2:26 PM

        In my experience, people really don’t seem to like you. What, did you pee in the collective cornflakes of the whole message board? I mean, you ARE a flyers fan, so that’s one strike against you (ZING!), but you generally make well thought-out posts, and good points. I don’t get it either.

      • ibieiniid - Jan 2, 2014 at 2:40 PM

        I also often come across as a bit pretentious over the internet. I realize I do it. I don’t speak like this in person, but I find it hard to say what i really mean without the physical context that I can give in a face-to-face, so I use wayyyy too many words for internet comments. so understandably, people seem to not mesh with my personality on here. i won’t say I don’t notice the thumbs, but it doesn’t bother me. what bothers me is when people disagree but can’t even tell me why. they just thumb and move on, when I’d rather hear when and why I’m wrong or if i overlooked something. i like internet commenting for the educational aspect.

        oh yeah, and the Flyers thing. yeah. that’s probably a big part lol

        idk, I try to focus on not trolling, maybe they’ll get the picture eventually.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 2, 2014 at 11:36 AM

      I think you’re right. Watching the WJC I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the goalies, and a player moving out wider along the boards results in very little additional movement for the goalie.

      • ibieiniid - Jan 2, 2014 at 12:04 PM

        not to mention, the shot quality from the tighter angles makes for easier saves.

      • ibieiniid - Jan 2, 2014 at 12:05 PM

        jk, you said that below.

    • joey4id - Jan 2, 2014 at 1:30 PM

      Goalies need to adjust because angles and distance changes the most. The quick shot often doesn’t make it to the net and if the goalie overreacts he’s at the shooter’s mercy.

  2. ipaintrinks - Jan 2, 2014 at 9:28 AM

    when you play on an nhl rink everyday stepping onto an olympic is day and night. things for miller to be concerned with is more space behind the net and just more area in general to create chances.

    • ibieiniid - Jan 2, 2014 at 9:45 AM

      yeah I could see the area behind the red line as problematic, but correct me if I’m wrong, international nets still have that 4″ the NHL reduced them by. kinda cancels out, IMO.

      i understand the extra room affecting the SKATERS, but how does more room for skaters to make plays affect the goalie? if they’re using more lateral space on a side-to-side one timer, the goalie has more time to shift from side to side since the puck has to move farther, and the shooting angle would be much tighter. i just don’t see how a goalie’s job to stop the puck is much different without making his required range of movement larger, which olympic rinks don’t really do.

      • ibieiniid - Jan 2, 2014 at 9:45 AM

        “international nets still have that 4″ the NHL reduced them by”

        by that, I was referring to the net depth.

    • buddysguys - Jan 2, 2014 at 9:54 AM

      best players in the world with more ice to skate on plus he hasnt seen good hockey in front of him since 2010 either. He might not know what to do when goals are scored and pucks are blocked and guys are actually fighting for pucks in the corners.

  3. runhigh24 - Jan 2, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    Also the adjustment to teammates who don’t routinely allow 45 shots a night will be big adjustment as well.

  4. rendy0212 - Jan 2, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    The blue lines are closer on international ice (shorter offensive zone but wider) so shots from the point are a big difference and add a wider surface for varying angles and I’d say that’s big difference.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 2, 2014 at 11:38 AM

      But few shots are coming from out wide, they’re not quality shots. The puck is just being moved from out wide into the traditional scoring areas. A goalie who is good at reading plays should have no trouble with the adjustment.

      • rendy0212 - Jan 2, 2014 at 11:51 AM

        The blue lines are 9 feet closer. 100 mph shots from point 9′ closer do make a difference. Just look what kind of difference 4″ behind the net did for scoring opportunities.

        And I respectfully disagree that wider doesn’t make a difference. Shooting angles may traditionally stay the same for good scoring opportunities yes, but goalies now need to track players over a wider area. They are used to a narrower field of vision on nhl ice and I think the wider ice will just allow the worlds best players to find soft spots that much easier.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 2, 2014 at 11:57 AM

        Yeah I’m not debating that there are differences and that adjustments need to be made, I just don’t think they’re huge or especially difficult adjustments for the best goalies in the world to make.

      • ibieiniid - Jan 2, 2014 at 12:10 PM

        mrmojo, don’t you know that every issue on PHT is black or white? you must be radical in every viewpoint or you get down-thumbs.

        I said the same, i don’t see how they’re HUGE adjustments. 1:4 up to down ratio on that comment.

        although, rendy makes a good point with “but goalies now need to track players over a wider area.” that’s the only point here that I can actually see requiring pretty substantial adjustments.

      • rendy0212 - Jan 2, 2014 at 12:11 PM

        I can respect that position. Maybe Miller is just trying to CYA in case things go badly for him. Let’s hope not because he has been the only bright spot for Sabres this year.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 2, 2014 at 12:15 PM

        Yeah, I mentioned in another post that I was surprised Miller hasn’t played in a WJC or WC before. Having never seen the big ice before would probably make it more daunting.

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