ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Ryan Miller and Paul Gaustad are the closest of friends. They've been roomates. They've traveled through Europe together. They were teammates for a decade -- a run that ended Monday when the Sabres sent Gaustad to Nashville.
Miller is not happy with the transaction.
"It was a pretty tough day," Miller said today after practice in Anaheim Ice. "I’m not going to lie. I’m not real happy about the way it all turned out. But that’s the business of hockey.
"Like I’ve said, we don’t make those decisions. That’s more proof because if I had any more influence Paul would still be here. I appreciate the way he plays. He’s been one of my best friends for a long time there. Obviously, that’s going to continue, but it was nice to have him as a teammate and have those other intangibles."
The 12th-place Sabres sent Gaustad, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent, and a fourth-round pick in 2013 to the Predators for a first-round pick this year. That pick doesn't help the Sabres win faceoffs or kill penalties, Miller feels, though the team did acquire center Cody Hodgson from Vancouver in a separate deal.
"He does the things that are not easy to do every night," Miller said of Gaustad. "It’s just too important for a hockey team, and it is a little frustrating in that regard.
"Personally, he’s a close friend, and also I think he’s a big part of the team. No matter the way you view hockey, you have to understand how important players like Paul can be and how long it takes to develop a guy that plays that way at such a high level. Winning those faceoffs is not easy. Killing those penalties is not easy. Not a lot of guys are willing to do that job every night, and he was."
Hodgson and fellow newcomer Alexander Sulzer, acquired from Vancouver for Zack Kassian and Marc-Andre Gragnani, were not with the team at practice. They flew to Buffalo for physicals, and Hodgson, a Canadian, also had to meet with immigration officials about his visa. His paperwork has cleared and he is on his way to Anaheim. He will play Wednesday against the Ducks.
To hear Miller and coach Lindy Ruff, click the audio files below.