Ryan Miller, lip quivering while he talked for nearly 10 minutes today, said he's suffering from headaches and whiplash following the hit from Boston's Milan Lucic on Saturday. The Sabres' goaltender has no timetable for a return to the crease.
"I’m not as well as I’d like to be, but considering, I feel alright," Miller said during a surprise appearance in the First Niagara Center dressing room. "My neck is pretty sore. I’m trying to figure out if that’s more of a source of headaches or if what I’m really feeling was my head really started hurting.
"You always are concerned. Last year I thought I had a very simple ‘get your bell rung,’ and I missed five games. This, I don’t know how to put a timeline on it, but I am encouraged that my neck feels better. Once that really feels good, I can start to make my way back."
Miller is disappointed the NHL decided not to issue supplemental discipline to Lucic for the blast, and he's also unhappy with Boston's comments that the forceful collision might not even be the source of his ailment. He has no doubt the hit is the reason for his concussion symptoms.
"We decided to talk more freely about it because there was a reason to with the incident with Lucic and the league needed to make some kind of judgment," Miller said. "It didn’t quite work out the way we thought it could. I’m definitely disappointed in that.
"The one thing I was disappointed with the assessment or what came out of Boston and some of what came out of the league was it wasn’t a head shot, so that was their conclusion to why the concussion maybe didn’t come from that. I didn’t know they were all doctors. Concussions are caused by many things, one of them including a whiplash motion that sends your brain moving laterally or however you’re hit. It doesn’t need to be a direct impact. That fact alone, I’m rolling my eyes."
The goalie is convinced his teammates have his back and is disturbed the topic has even been broached (despite the Sabres' lack of response to the hit). He says he didn't expect a full donnybrook on his behalf, and he appreciates their words the past couple of days when they said they wish they would have done more.
"I’ve been told a lot’s been said about it," Miller said, "and you know what? These guys have my back. I was disappointed in the direction that started to take where people were talking about how these guys don’t have my back. My whole job is to try and help these guys and be there for them, and they’re there for me. I was just really disappointed in the direction that started to take.
"I’ve been with a lot of these guys a really long time. For one incident and one tough stretch of hockey to start to become what it was I think is unfair to me and I think it’s unfair to the guys in here. You guys aren’t in the locker room. You guys don’t know what’s going on. We allow you in here for these interviews, and we don’t conduct ourselves the same way as we do with each other.
"I appreciate that they wanted to do more. But I mean, what can you really do? You’re going to get a suspension yourself? Lucic is a tough guy. What are you going to do? Hack him? Spear him? Cheap-shot him? Then you’re not better than he is."
The full audio of Miller's chat is below.