On Sunday, Ryan Miller channeled Dan Cloutier and opened the floodgates against the Islanders. He allowed seven goals on 26 shots and looked bad doing it. Funny enough, he wasn’t the worst goalie on the ice, that distinction belonged to Al Montoya who looked way over his head in net.
After the game John Vogl, the Sabres beat writer for The Buffalo News, asked Miller, “Do you feel OK?” It is a fairly harmless question that was more than warranted. Miller has been very average this year and I think a great deal of that is because of his injuries at the outset of the season. Either way, he has not been the best goalie on the planet like he was last season. Sunday was a great example of it.
Now, I’m not siding with all of the morons throughout Buffalo who think he stinks or that we should trade him. Get a life you losers. The only reason that the Sabres are competitive is because of Thomas Vanek, Drew Stafford and Miller.
Back to the point. Miller took offense to Vogl’s question and took it quite personally, based on the way he reacted to the following questions. Again, John was right on in asking that one. Miller has looked average at times and has conjured memories of 07-08 when he played 34-straight and his play suffered because of it. Clearly the mental and physical fatigue he is suffering from playing over 30 games in a row is starting to wear on him. Perhaps if the Sabres weren’t paying $500K for a shooter tutor Miller could take a rest now and then.
What followed was some of the most immature, selfish and unprofessional string of events. Miller and Vogl exchanged pleasantries (off the record) and the back and forth cause Jerry Sullivan to step in to insult Miller. So, Miller called out Sullivan for only showing up when it was convenient for him and the exchange deteriorated to a could f-bombs. Here is a detailed description.
I want to reiterate that I think John Vogl is a fantastic writer who knows a boatload about hockey. He and Mike Harrington do a great job with the Sabres beat and their coverage is always excellent. His question was spot on and needed to be asked. Unfortunately he didn’t get the response he wanted. Had Miller (or Lindy Ruff) even hinted at the fact he has played far too much and a bona-fide backup needs to be found, it would have been an even better question.
Now, here is my problem. Two years ago Sullivan wrote a column saying Miller was average, at best. Miller called him out on it and also called him for rarely showing up to cover games. This resulted in a locker room confrontation. Funny enough, as Miller’s game improved last season, Sullivan wrote a column praising his abilities, twice. The second linked story is more along the lines of local pride, but you still get a good taste of Miller’s ascension to stardom in there, no?
So, Sullivan has found a way to waffle more than John Kerry on the Ryan Miller issue. A guy who stepped out to News readers and said he would trade the football and hockey teams in Buffalo for an NBA and MLB franchise, or two for one. Well Jerry, why do you trot out of town and find a basketball or baseball team to follow?
I would ballpark that 95% of his columns are slanted towards the negative, while the other 5% actually have a true analysis and call to action. He isn’t a terrible writer when it comes to the Bills. He has been around them long enough and he knows whats up. However, he shouldn’t bother sticking his nose into hockey. It is painfully clear when you read his stuff on the Sabres. I may not agree with Bucky Gleason most of the time, but the man knows the sport well and makes well supported points.
Again there is a situation where Jerry Sullivan got yelled at by someone who people actually care about, so he used his column to whine about it. Grow up. Miller obviously has a point when he says you only show to games when it is absolutely necessary. Just going through column archives would show his lack of attendance, or a quick scan of press box on game nights. There are already three very capable writers manning the beat for the Sabres, he doesn’t need to be there anyway.
To top this off, Sullivan spent his typical hour on WGR 550 with Schopp and the Bulldog talking about the matter a bit more. Of course, Schopp just fed him softballs with stats and questions allowing Sullivan to hammer home his point that Miller is an also-ran goaltender who is overpaid and overrated. To think, there is something called journalistic integrity.