So what's up with Ryan Miller? It's the biggest question in Sabreland in the wake of Saturday's 8-3 loss to Pittsburgh, a flameout that saw Miller get pulled twice and owner Terry Pegula issue a surprising and stern rebuke of Miller and Jhonas Enroth.
Miller stayed on the ice at First Niagara Center for more than 90 minutes today working on his game -- and was out an extra half-hour after many of his teammates were already out of the building to prep for the flight to Ottawa. When you're 37th in the NHL in goals-against average (3.12) and 32nd in save percentage (.902), there's definitely work to be done.
"You want to put it away and you come the next day to do as much as you can to work through it,' Miller said. "My cousin Kevin taught me that when I was a kid. He played a long time and when he had a bad game, the only thing you can control is how hard you come out and work. I'm trying to put the work in and get caught up to where I need to be."
What did Miller think of Pegula's comments? He had not heard them until they were relayed by The News.
"He owns the team. I guess he wants to see a little bit better play," Miller said. "I don't know. It's for us to come to the rink and work to get better. ... I'm trying to get better and put my best game out there and I obviously didn't have a very good game. That's pretty apparent. I got pulled twice. I mean, come on. That's pretty bad. ... It's unfortunate we didn't have a better game. I'm sure Terry [a Pennsylvania native] wanted to see us play better in Pittsburgh."
Miller insisted he's healthy coming off his concussion but coach Lindy Ruff wonders.
"I think he is but I've seen in the past where a Pominville came back from his and it took a long time to get in the groove," Ruff said. "There's been a history of players that when they come off. I don't know the answer. I believe he's healthy but I've definitely seen in the past guys come off head injuries and in some cases it's weeks, some cases it's even longer before they play well."
On the injury front, Thomas Vanek was held out of practice with an upper body injury but Ruff said he's probable for Tuesday night. The coach was pleased to see Brad Boyes skating well and didn't rule him out of Thursday's game in Toronto, although that still seems a longshot with Boyes still in a non-contact role. Tyler Ennis was going to skate Monday but was unable to on his bad ankle so he's likely out this week. Colin Stuart's injury suffered Saturday is to his knee and he will be out at least a month.
Ruff said two players will likely be recalled from Rochester, with Derek Whitmore and Marcus Foligno the top candidates. Said Ruff: "It's dire here and it's probably even worse in Rochester. I've never seen anything like it really."
Cracked captain Jason Pominville: "We might need a priest to come in the room and give us a little more luck that way but we don't want to use any excuses."
As noted earlier today, the Sabres only had three full forward lines for practice. Crazy stuff. Click below for the full audio from Ruff and Miller.