Christmas in July

For the right price, a miniature replica of a Buffalo Sabres goaltender can hang off your fake/dead pine tree this December. Ryan Miller’s Hallmark Keepsake ornament just hit the streets, and someone was nice enough to give me a glimpse of The Greeting Card Company’s handiwork. Let’s see how they did.

Product Details
Retail: $17.95 U.S.A, $23.99 CAN
Dimensions: 4″ x 3.5″ x 2.25″
Description: “Ryan Miller’s hybrid style for the Buffalo Sabres is an olympic achievement to commemorate this winter. Miller’s family of NHL players is one to watch, and you can start by adding this fan-favorite to your tree.”
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Back of the Box
On the back of every Hallmark ornament is a paragraph of information exciting enough to make your grandmother drop $18 on a hunk of plastic. Let’s see what the sports nuts at Hallmark have to say about Miller:

Goaltender Ryan Miller can stop any shot, but he can’t stop the fame, the victories, and the awards from piling up.

Actually, he kind of did. About two years ago.

The Michigan native has been the startong goalie for the Buffalo Sabres since the 2005-2006 season and has an enviable career save percentage of .915 to show for it. In 2010, besides winning the Vezina Trophy, he became the first American player to win the NHL Foundation Player Award. No doubt we’ll be watching Miller rack up the saves for years to come!

The NHL Foundation Player Award, which I just remembered exists, has been awarded since 1998. The year before Miller won it, Rick Nash took home the honors. Rob Ray won it once. Where the hell’s his Hallmark ornament?

Moving on.

Unboxing

Have you ever done an unboxing before? Tech sites make it look so easy and important. Doesn’t Ryan Miller deserve the same treatment?

It’s out! Exciting.

That hook sticking out of Miller’s neck is there for a reason. Your Ryan Miller ornament will not stand on its own. He will not be your desk buddy, unless your favorite Miller pose is him lying prone on the ice after Marc-AndrĂ© Gragnani gets burned by an Eastern Conference rival.

Realism

Bobbleheads have the market corned on awful representations of athletes, but Ryan Miller has had some, uh, softer problems with his likeness. Remember that plush doll that looked more like every Muppet ever more than Miller?

Not to fear, Sabres fans, this unboxing was overseen by a Yunel Escobar bobblehead I picked up in Toronto on my last visit. Yunel essentially did what KPMG representatives do for the New York Lottery. (Oops.)

I give it a seven out of 10 on the likeness scale. Either way, Yunel is qualified enough to help me out here.

Let’s get a better look at Holiday Ryan Miller.

Throw a Swingline stapler behind him and we can see how close they got to Miller’s butterfly style.

Not bad at all. Even Yunel looks mildly impressed.

Or something.

Mask

Miller has worn plenty of lids in his time at the rink, and none of them are as simple as Hallmark seems to suggest here. I know, I know. Copyrights and trademarks and all that. I get it. Still, we’re not pleased.

Yeah, what he said.

Wrap Up

Overall, I’m impressed by what I’ve seen today. That a Ryan Miller ornament even exists is a bit of a surprise. That they release Hallmark ornaments in July is also something I wasn’t aware of. Maybe that just means I should pay more attention to the greeting card industry.

Either way, they will sell a ton of these in Western New York this winter. Maybe even a few in Toronto. Hey, someone has to get scored on by the Joe Crabb ornament.

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