There are were not many perks to attending the Sabres/Isles New Year’s Day game. Aside from the 1pm start and the bubonic plague I acquired from the festivities, the game was also a sloppy display of hangover hockey. One positive that came from the day? The Sabres Team Calender I received by walking through the door.
That brings me to today, which I know for a fact is Ryan Miller’s birthday.
It must be an interesting time for our young goaltender to say the least. Here he sits, two full years into his NHL career, with his brother a Stanley Cup Champion and his own team picking up the pieces of a disastrous offseason.
There is no way we can possibly get into his head and understand what he is feeling, but as a Sabres fan you cannot help but feel for the situation he finds himself in. Like it or not, he is now the most recognizable face on this hockey team. Gone are the days of Briere or Drury running the show, in tandem or otherwise. I know he can’t wear the “C” according to NHL rules, but it is as good as his with regards to play. No one has stepped up more since the lockout than Ryan Miller.
When I think Ryan Miller, I think of this. Watch the whole video, it’s one of the most entertaining Sabres games you will ever see.
Just think about that game for a moment. February 22nd, 2007. Ryan Miller started that game on the bench. Two hours later he is thrust into a game that suddenly means more than any other game so far that season. Yet fast forward another two hours and there he is batting that puck into the stands in celebration. That is the most emotion I have ever seen Ryan Miller show. Just what Miller did alone shows you how much that game mattered.
Now I know that I keep coming back to this game in my posts, but I really do think it showed us a lot about our team. And personally, if anyone passed the litmus test that night it was Ryan Miller. Sure, Drew Stafford made “the leap” before our eyes, but Miller was tossed into the game of the year with no warning and still came through when it mattered.
I’m not saying he has always been there, nor that I have a steadfast belief in his eternal fallibility; but it is good to think back on games like that and know he can pull through. I need that after the July we’ve had. So if Ryan Miller is going to be the face of this hockey team, well, I think things will be okay after all.
Happy Birthday, Ryan Miller. You get the keys to a hockey team.
Don’t scratch the paint.