VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Ryan Miller learned the hard way that the Olympics aren't all about the spirit of competition and sportsmanship. It's also about making money.
The Sabres goaltender was told today that he might need a new paint job for his mask because officials worried he was crossing the line when it came to branding. Companies pay big bucks to be sponsors, and they are very protective of what's being shown to millions of viewers from around the world.
One thing certain to be covered is "Miller Time" because it sounds like the beer. Lindsey Vonn had to paint over "Vonn" before skiing today. She has a clothing line called "Vonntourage."
Miller's mask has Uncle Sam painted on one side and a bald eagle on the other. It also had the Olympic rings across the bottom, two shamrocks in a tribute to 1980 goalie Jim Craig and "Matt Man'' in honor of his late cousin, Matt Schoals, who died of cancer. Miller was more concerned about "Matt Man" being removed than anything else.
"My aunt and uncle, my family, it's important to them,'' he said. "It's important to me, so I'm going to try and stand up for that. Other than that, it doesn't really matter. Everything else was just for fun."
Miller was hoping that IOC officials would allow the tribute to his cousin once they realized what it meant. They are allowing the shamrocks. He was waiting to hear about the other problems. Goalies Jonathan Quick and Tim Thomas had similar problems with their mask.
"As far as they know, [Matt Man] could be something I'm trying to sell," he said.
"We're waiting for final thoughts on the Olympic rings and the Olympic symbol. Apparently, if you change it too much ... I don't know. It was an artist's rendition. It's not going to be exact."
--- Bucky Gleason