Statistically speaking, Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller is having one of the worst seasons of his career. The former Vezina Trophy winner has a 6-7-1 record and a 2.91 goals against average as the Sabres continue to disappoint. The Sabres have one of the worst marks in the league in goals against and have had a hard time holding on to leads.
After a big 4-2 win over the Boston Bruins on Sunday, the Sabres suffered a 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday and Miller let his frustration boil over while talking to the media after the game.
Miller used multiple expletives in expressing his frustration with the team’s inability to keep the puck out of the defensive zone or hold a lead, as well as their lack of poise and experience. While the league doesn’t keep stats on such things, one can only imagine what Miller’s numbers might look like this season if goals scored on him as a direct result of bad defensive play were removed. Only two Buffalo defenders boast positive plus-minus numbers for the season (Alexander Sulzer and Christian Ehrhoff) and Jordan Leopold and Tyler Myers are among the league’s worst in the category at minus-7.
Calling out teammates isn’t always a great idea, but maybe Miller’s words will hit home with the Sabres and get the team back on track. It’s a shame to waste the amazing start of Thomas Vanek (12 goals, 13 assists), and this team has proven it can score consistently. With coach Lindy Ruff’s job likely on the line, if the team fails to make the postseason in 2013, he needs to turn his focus to strengthening the defense and getting Miller some help.
As his big save on James Neal on Sunday showed, Miller still has the skill to be one of the best keepers in the league – he just isn’t going to have a record that reflects that until the team in front of him provides some support.