By Mike Harrington
Ryan Miller had one of his classic say-a-lot-in-eight-minutes groupthink with reporters this afternoon after Sabres practice in First Niagara Center. The upshots of it are pretty much the following:
1). Miller appreciates the faith Ted Nolan is showing in him, especially the interim coach's comments Wednesday that the Sabres should build around Miller and not trade him.
But Miller said the seven-year, $59.5 million contract signed Wednesday by Henrik Lundqvist "sets the standards" now for goaltenders. Miller is 33 and said he hopes to play until he's 38, 39 or 40. Translation: Show him the money and years. I wrote about this dilemma for the Sabres today and it's pretty hard to see them going all-in for long term on Miller with the current state of their team.
"I thought it was actually lower than he was probably going for," a smiling Miller said of the Lundqvist deal. "I anticipate with the TV deals and such, the cap is going to keep going up. Maybe it will seem like a pretty average price down the line."
2). Miller confirmed he has had conversations with Pat LaFontaine, but said they were "just exploratory, get to know each other" meetings. The direction of the franchise under LaFontaine and whomever is selected as general manager clearly came up.
"They came into a situation where some things had happened, one very recently with the Vanek trade," Miller said. "You have to pause for a minute and evaluate where you're at. You just can't keep shedding everything I guess. I think they're trying to figure out guys they want to hang on to and they think they can build a core around. We'll see how it goes."
3). Miller said hearing the Sabres are going to accelerate their rebuild from the clear tanking under Darcy Regier isn't going to be nearly enough to get him to stay.
"I've heard a lot of talk over my time," Miller said "It's about actions at this point. I'm not going to sit around and let promises get thrown around."
4). Miller said he feels good in the net and simply needs to continue to play strong in the face of his team's offensive woes.
"We can't score, we've got to keep pucks out," Miller said. "That's part of my job. So I guess I'm part of the solution in that regard. I can keep the puck out, I can compete and battle and hopefully these guys can feed off the group of guys keeping the puck out."
Click below to hear more from Miller with the media today, including his thoughts on this year's team.