Monday, February 14, 2011

Thoughts on Miller

I figured I should talk about Ryan Miller, because I'm sure you've noticed by now, he is one of my favorite people to talk about.

Miller, Miller, Miller. It's obvious he hasn't been at the level he was last season when he won the Vezina. But I think fans have to realize that he isn't going to win the Vezina every season. But I understand that now that he's won the Vezina, expectations are higher and criticism will be more frequent when he doesn't live up to standards. I understand all of that and there is nothing wrong with it. What bothers is me is how shortsighted fans can be. I mean, what the hell is up with WGR 550's latest poll on their website? Should Ryan Miller be apart of the "core" moving forward? You kiddin' me? I'm just glad owners and GM of sports teams aren't as rash as fans. I think it just comes with the position, but I feel like all of the great goaltenders in the NHL today have been called overrated at some point. Fleury, Price, Brodeur, Luongo, they have all been called busts or simply "overrated". Hell, Roy was practically run out of town in Montreal and Sabres fans used to boo Hasek at home.

Kate already brought this up in her latest post, but I think Corey Griswold made some great points last night on his Twitter page. Aside from last season, Miller's stats aren't that phenomenal. He's never really been a "Stats King", if you will. But stats aren't the be all and all, and they certainly don't tell the whole story. You can't look at Miller's current GAA, which is 31st in the league or something like that and say, "Oh, well that means that the 30 other goalies are clearly better than Ryan Miller." It just doesn't work that way. Miller's stats are bad this season no matter how you look at it, and that's an indicator of something, but I just wish fans could look at the broader picture at hand instead of being so hung up on the numbers.

I also want to touch on Miller's post-game reaction last night... I think people are making it a bigger deal than it is, but Buffalo is a small town so that's not surprising to me. Ryan was clearly frustrated, and he said so several times in his interview. I don't think John Vogl's original question was particularly bad, but I think it was quite obvious that Miller wasn't going to give any other answer than, "I feel fine." and he was irked by the question. But Vogl still pursued with the question which made Miller more annoyed. I understand Vogl must have been taken aback by Miller's reaction, but he's also a professional sports journalist and I think he knew what he was doing when he kept repeating the question to a very frustrated Miller.

As for Jerry Sullivan, I think he's a jackass. He really didn't have any business jumping in on the scuffle between Miller and Vogl, other than to further stir the pot. Which is what I think he wanted to do. I have no problem with Miller calling him out and them exchanging pleasantries (as Rick Jeanneret would put it). Sullivan apparently called Miller "thin-skinned", but to me it seems like Sullivan was the one acting a little too sensitive to Miller's criticism. Miller had a rough night and his temper was high, so his reaction may have not been professional, but it was understandable. Sullivan on the other hand, there really was no reason for him to be so bent out of shape and to insult Miller like that. Pro athtletes like Ryan Miller are the reason that sports columnists and reporters like Jerry Sullivan are even employed. There needs to be some level of respect. They can write their columns and reports and criticize players all they want, but I also think players/coaches have a right to dish it back out if they feel it is warranted.

All in all, I'm sure Miller would have handled the situation differently had it not been in the "heat of the moment", and I'm sure Vogl and Sullivan are used to athletes snapping at them because it just comes with the job. Miller having to answer to the media comes with his job to, but everyone involved in this is obviously human and mistakes will be made. I'm also not saying that any criticism Miller is receiving this season isn't deserved or is unfair, I just wish fans used a little more perspective in their criticisms.

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