Ryan Miller's absence Saturday night had nothing to do with the hip problem that cost him five games earlier this month, coach Lindy Ruff said after the 2-1 loss to Tampa Bay.
Miller developed "groin tenderness" according to Ruff during Friday's 4-2 win over Los Angeles and wasn't able to skate this morning so the decision was made to go to Patrick Lalime.
What does it mean for Miller next week with three games in four days?
"This is supposed to be very mild, very mild," Ruff insisted.
We'll see. Goalies and groins are not a good mix as we know all too well in this town from Dominik Hasek, circa 1997. If Miller can't go, there's no way Ruff can put Patrick Lalime back in the net.
That was a Bantam-level goal Lalime gave up to cost his team a game Saturday night, a crippling giveaway to Tampa Bay's Adam Hall right in front of the net. That can't happen in the NHL. Lalime is 0-4 this year and 9-25-5 in his Buffalo career. It has to be time to make Enroth the backup and encourage Lalime to go to Portland or send him packing entirely.
Lalime is a great guy. At some point, even great guys have to make plays.