By John Vogl
Only 28 goaltenders have played more NHL games than Mike Liut. The former standout for the St. Louis Blues and Hartford Whalers skated to the crease in 664 games, and he is one of only 61 goalies to top 500.
The group will grow to 62 on Friday when Ryan Miller reaches the milestone for Buffalo.
Liut, who is Miller's agent, is of course happy for his client.
"Five hundred games with one team for a goaltender is a significant achievement," Liut said via email from Russia, where he is watching the under-18 tournatement. "The accomplishment will take on more significance in retirement as Ryan reflects on Buffalo and all it has meant to him, and he to the city."
Miller will enter Friday's season finale against the New York Islanders with a record of 268-164-56, with a 2.59 goals-against average .915 save percentage. When the puck drops, Miller will rank 19th among the 62 members of the 500 club in adjusted points percentage, a measure in which all ties, overtime losses and shootout decisions are counted as regulation ties to better compare goaltenders from different eras.
Liut admires Miller's approach.
"Always looking to be better - better at playing the position, better at being a leader, better at supporting those around him," Liut wrote. "As a person, Ryan is an athlete who works at doing/saying the right things, while wearing his heart on his sleeve. You may not agree with his stance, but you know he's sincere in his convictions and you must respect his approach."