One of the cornerstones of the Buffalo Sabres franchise in the last decade or so, Ryan Miller was traded away to the St. Louis Blues as the Sabres continue to rebuild. We have had an outpouring of emotion throughout the city as in some way or another, the goaltender had touched the lives of every Sabres fan out there. A few of the Die By The Blade writers also added their thoughts on the departing Miller.
I’m not even sure where to begin with this. Miller has been the poster child for this organization for years, and with good reason. Especially after a couple rough years the one consolation prize of rooting for a struggling Buffalo team was we had one of, if not the, best goalie in the league. As hard as it is to believe, I’m convinced this season would have been even uglier without him as time and time again he bailed his team out. Even when the team wasn't beyond horrible it was easy to point to Miller as the reason they were in a game, playoff series, or towards the top of the standings.
As far as memories go I’m sure there will be a slew of amazing saves in this article but I’m taking a different direction. After his 2010 Olympic loss, there is a picture of Miller with Canadian gloves scattered all around him and team Canada celebrating in the background. He was crushed, the country was crushed. Even in that moment of disappointment I realized just how amazing that run was for Miller and the underdog US team. He managed to bring national pride to Western NY and the Sabres. For those 3 weeks and beyond, even with a heartbreaking loss, we were all proud to call him "our goalie"... before the rest of the country did.
When all is said and done with this I’m glad that Miller is going to a team that’ll give him a shot at raising the Cup, something he wouldn't get here in Buffalo for some time.
If you follow me on Twitter (and I hope you do!), it's no big secret that I am not Ryan Miller's biggest fan. I can't tell you exactly what changed, or when, but I used to be the leader of the fan club. Seriously. I proudly wore my homemade Amerks "Miller" t-shirt, and my Buffaslug Miller 'shirsey'. You never forget where you're from, and my first exposure to Miller was exactly that - as an Amerk. After years of harassing our goaltenders as little more than pylons that were paid, Miller dazzled me. I nearly got kicked out of a Sabres game and arrested for defending him during that fateful Carolina series in the playoffs. Ryan Miller, to me (and my family), will always be a personable, if not a little shy, blue collar guy who came in and captivated us. He was almost always up for a conversation, and knew that it was us, the fans, who helped make those Amerks (and later, those Sabres) what they were.
More recently, I had made no bones about wanting him gone and hoping for a good return on the sale. I was caught off guard by my emotional gut reaction to the news of him being traded. As much as you prepare yourself for someone to be gone, you're never really ready. I never wish bad on a player, and I truly hope that Miller finds his Cup in St Louis, or wherever he finally lands.
Back when Thomas Vanek was traded I wrote a sentimental piece about an end of an era. With Miller, it feels like it is even more so.
Ryan Miller won't just be remembered for his play off the ice, but for the mark he left on the team and the community. You know a player meant something when my mom is sad to see him go. It will be hard to see Miller and not think, "That's my goalie."
Oh where to begin with this one. This day was one we hoped would never come, but it has. There was no way Miller would have retired a Sabre unless we'd have won a couple of Cups by now, and as each season sank away the fans knew that we were coming closer to that eventual separation.
Ever since Miller came to prominence after the lockout and as part of that deadly goaltending trident alongside Marty Biron and MIka Noronen, he has become a fan favorite. Whether it's his calm demeanor or just the business-like manner he went about his hockey, there was something there for everyone to like. And in all these years, we have seen him to be a human being just like any one of us, who makes mistakes and shows his emotions. We celebrated with him when he collected personal accolades, were thrilled by him as he made remarkable saves and we mourned with him when twice we lost in Conference Finals. We admired his focus as we saw how he prepared for games and cheered on wildly as he carried the US hockey team on his back like he has carried the Sabres so often. For all this, and for his charity ventures in Buffalo, we thank Miller.
I am just glad on a couple of fronts: we got back a decent return on his trade, and we traded him to a contender. This represents his best chance of winning the Cup and we can never wish a player badly for doing all he can to collect that piece of silverware. Miller leaves Buffalo as stat leader in a whole bunch of goaltending categories, and will never be forgotten by Sabres fans.
You've heard from us, folks, now it's your turn. Give us your thoughts on Ryan Miller's time as a Sabre or leave any favorite memories in the comments.