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More on Miller's magic media tour

Ryan Miller enters tonight's game against Dallas leading the league with a 2.13 goals-against average, .932 save percentage and the game's highest media profile. He spent Monday on NBC's "Today" show and appeared yesterday on "Jim Rome is Burning" on ESPN. His Monday media tour in New York produced these articles as well:

Vanity Fair -- "It became pretty apparent that we had America’s attention when I went on Ryan Seacrest—that was different. That’s a completely different world to us."

NHL.com -- This is probably the most intense dissection I've seen Miller make of Sidney Crosby's overtime goal. He admits, "I did make a tactical error, but had he not caught the puck kind of behind him and made one motion to shoot, if he had taken a look, I had the advantage."

Wall Street Journal -- A discussion of the goalie being a superstar. And here's Miller's video chat with the Journal as well.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Latest Miller article from Monday's media tour

NEW YORK -- After he left the NBC Studios, Ryan Miller headed over to the Bloomberg News Service for an interview.You can see their article here, with Miller speaking out in favor of NHL players going to Sochi in 2014 among other topics. Another key point: Give the guy some space when you see him at Wegmans or the Lexington Co-op.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Ryan Miller on 'Today'

NEW YORK -- In case you missed it, here's the NBC video of Ryan Miller's interview Monday morning with Matt Lauer on the "Today" show.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Miller slated as 'Today' guest Monday morning

NEW YORK -- This just in from the Sabres' PR staff: Ryan Miller's post-Olympic media tour catches a big fish Monday as he's slated to appear live on NBC's "Today" show at 8:30 a.m.

Miller will be doing several appearances/interviews in the New York City area Monday, including interviews with Vanity Fair, the Wall Street Journal and VH-1. The Sabres are scheduled to be off.

Be sure to read some of Miller's comments after the morning skate about the Olympics at our earlier post.

POST-GAME UPDATE: I asked Miller after Sunday's win what he thought about getting the chance to be on the biggest morning show on the Olympic network. His response:

"It's definitely  something different. It's going to be a good time, hanging around to do some different stuff tomorrow. The league, my agent, the team and USA Hockey all conspired on this one so you just take advantage of it while you can. People are interested in me at the moment and I'll try to do my best to promote the game -- and try not to mumble too much."

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

More Olympic talk from Miller

NEW YORK -- Because the Rangers played last night and don't do morning skates in Manhattan at Madison Square Garden, Ryan Miller didn't face the horde of Big Apple media you might have expected early this afternoon in the wake of his Olympic heroics. But an MSG camera crew for the Rangers telecast was on hand and Miller, as always, didn't disappoint with his insight.

Does he expect to hear some applause for Rangers fans tonight like he did Tuesday in Pittsburgh?

"Our team was a source of pride for people and that was a big positive for us," Miller said. "A lot of guys really felt good about being mentioned in circles far more than the standard sports page. Getting that to happen here might be a surprise but if it can happen in Pittsburgh, I guess it can happen anywhere. Pittsburgh has pretty loyal fans and New Yorkers obviously have a reputation for being a little more brash but they're loyal too."

More from Miller today:

---On the media whirlwind he's been on the last three weeks: "I've been doing a lot of talking about myself which is something I'm not really used to. Probably in Buffalo a little bit I am, but [the WNY media] have all heard my stories. Apparently, more people want to now what I'm all about so that's a little different. 

"I'm just trying to stay positive with that and embrace it. It's not a chance to promote myself as much as it's a chance to promote the game. What they want to know about me doesn't necessarily fall in line with what I've been telling the sports pages for the last 10-12 years."

---On attending the closing ceremonies a couple hours after losing the gold medal game: "I tried to have fun with the whole Olympic experience and that's why I went and did it. I kind of planned on doing it from the start if I had the chance. If we played in the game, I wanted to do it. No matter the outcome, I was going to be there.

"I had to do drug testing and I had about five minutes to shower and get into that outfit which took a little bit of work because everything was explained on a pamphlet and you tried to do everything right so you didn't look out of place. It was a fun experience to be part of an Olympic moment not just with my event. It was something bigger where people were celebrating the whole Olympics."

---On the Sabres' current 0-6-2 slide on the road: "We have to get something going. Looking at that streak of games, we've never been that far off. There just seems to have been a series of letdowns we haven't made up for. If we accept hockey is about mistakes, you have to play to win and keep playing. Those mistakes will happen. You just have to keep going.

"Look at [Friday's 3-2 overtime win over Philadelphia]. Timmy Connolly made a mistake. We rebounded on the bench and he went and did something about it. It's about attitude and that was great to see. We have to go out and have full intention of winning every night."

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Live from Millerfest: Sabres vs. Caps

Greetings from HSBC Arena as we get set for the Sabres and Caps in Buffalo's first home game since Feb. 13. A lot has changed in the hockey world since then, of course. And I'm not talking about the Sabres getting Raffi Torres today at the trade deadline (good pickup, for the record). Ryan Miller has transformed into a national icon and this game is essentially going to serve as his welcome-home party.

Plenty of applause as Miller came alone to the bench at 6:20 for his nightly pregame meditation session and when he took the ice for warmups. See some U.S. flags in fans' hands too. But the feeling is that the fans are going to lift the roof off the place during the Sabres' pregame ceremony to honor their Olympians. If Miller got a standing O last night in Pittsburgh, of all places, what is the reception going to be like at the foot of Washington Street?

As for the game, the Sabres come into it 1-5-2 in their last eight but with a chance to move back into first place in the Northeast Division with a win or overtime loss. The Caps, meanwhile, lost their last three prior to the Olympics after their 14-game winning streak ended.

Torres, by the way, is officially listed as a scratch tonight. And they just announced him as No. 14. Um, boys, that number is in the rafters (Rene Robert). Didn't think he could wear that one. We'll see. (Update: we're told the league generates a number for traded players so that won't hold. Garage league).

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Pregame: Miller got a rousing 45-second standing ovation when the Olympic medalists were introduced before the game, twice acknowledging the cheers. The Sabres used the HD board to introduce Miller, Ruff and Lydman and also saluted WNYers Patrick Kane, Ryan Callahan, Brooks Orpik and bobsledder Steve Mesler. Awesome. Of course, it would have been better to do all this before the anthems and really build some momentum in the building. But MSG needs to show more law firm commercials and doesn't show the anthems. My nightly boo to them.

Third Period

16:00 left: Miller has 30 saves tonight. The Caps have three or more goals in their last 21 straight games -- going 17-2-2 in that stretch.

12:00: The Sabres had nine shots on goal in the first 10 minutes. They have nine in the last 38.

9:32: Mike Green sneaks into the play to put the Caps ahead, 2-1, taking a neat pass from Tomas Fleischmann, who snuck to his right and then made a neat pass to the trailing defenseman. Green's 15th of the year.

3:25: Plenty of action as Kaleta wipes out Ovechkin at center ice, waking up the Buffalo offense to get three good chances on Theodore, who was up to the task.

It's over: A 3-1 loss as Boyd Gordon's bank shot hits the empty net with 30 seconds left. Final shots were 40-24.

Second Period

15:45: Mike Knuble beats Miller on a breakaway -- but puts the puck through the crease behind the Buffalo goaltender in the first snippet of any kind of action in this period. Giveaway from Kennedy at the Caps line set it up. This game is a complete snore. Looks like a pair of teams that just went through a two-week break. Terrible.

11:43: We'll tell you when something happens. Promise. Have no idea what to say about a game where there is NOTHING happening. Bizarre. Caps, for instance, have scored at least three goals in 21 straight games. They've got nothing in 28 minutes so far.

10:50: Miller's best save of the night is on Ovechkin, who got a loose puck at the Buffalo line and pulled it around Butler to release one of his patented heavy snap shots. An alert reader points out we never mentioned the lines in the wake of MacArthur's departure and Gaustad's injury. It's been Hecht-Connolly-Pominville, Vanek-Roy-Stafford, Kaleta-Kennedy-Grier and Mair-Ellis-Montador.

8:34: Miller bettered that one by channeling Eric Fehr's one-timer from the slot into the netting and then stopping an Ovechkin wrister off the faceoff. Caps have a 7-2 edge in shots in this period.

6:15: Theodore's best save is on Mair from the slot after a nice feed from Roy.

4:37: The Caps finally take a 1-0 lead as Jeff Schultz's shot from left point beats Miller after Jason Chimera pick-pocketed Rivet behind the Buffalo net. Might have been tipped in front. Shots are 12-3 in this period for the Caps. (Update: Eric Fehr gets credit on the deflection in front of Miller.)

3:37: Big for the Sabres to get that right back as Hecht hops on a loose puck in the Caps zone and fires a quick snap shot past Theodore for his 14th. Hecht';s 400th NHL point makes it 1-1.

End-2nd: Sabres are fortunate to get out with a 1-1 tie after Washington posts a 16-4 edge in shots. It's 27-15 in the game for the Caps.

First Period

16:54: The Sabres have a two-man advantage for 11 seconds as Shoane Morrison goes off for hooking after Jeff Schultz's tripping call.

15:00: Sabres sure didn't fix the power play today. Stafford had the best chance from in tight on Jose Theodore but Miller has to make two stops on his own to keep the game scoreless with the best one coming on Brooks Laich.

13:10: Sabres have a 6-3 edge in shots.

9:33: No sign of Alexander Ovechkin yet. He's done nothing. His first burst was a few seconds ago and Tyler Myers stripped him on the rush just inside the Buffalo line. Shots are 9-3, Buffalo.

8:00: Memo to Jochen Hecht: Don't dump the puck up the middle in your own end with Ovechkin on the loose. Terrible giveaway nearly gave No. 8 a clear path to Miller.

7:00: Stafford goes for interference in the offensive zone. Pretty foolish. Do the Sabres ever start a game lately with any adrenalin surge?

3:38: Theodore's best save comes on Roy, who deked a defender and got in after a nice pass from Tallinder, who caught the Caps on a change.

3:07: Pominville goes for high sticking.

End-1st: No score and both teams have 11 shots. Miller made a pair of nice saves in the final minute, on Matt Bradley and a Boyd Gordon rebound, to keep it scoreless. A pretty blah period overall. The Caps haven't played in 2 1/2 weeks and it shows. Not much energy from them. Same for the Sabres, who played last night. Another argument against Olympic hockey: Will it take every team a week to get back into game rhythm so March doesn't look like October?

Deadline day video update

Nothing new to report from HSBC Arena in the final hour before the NHL trade deadline. Here's a video look at the morning skate, wtih comments from Ryan Miller, Lindy Ruff and Alexander Ovechkin.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Ovechkin moves on from Russia's disappointment

The Capitals are in town playing their first post-Olympic game tonight and that means Alexander Ovechkin will be on the ice for the first time since Russia's disappointing showing in Vancouver. Ovechkin said he wished he had been playing Sunday in the gold medal and had not had so much time off since the Russians were eliminated last week.

"It is what it is. It's life. I just want to look forward and I don't want to look at a bad situation," he said. " That experience can be a good experience too. You can see what happened in Torino. Canada lost  against us and won a gold medal. We have to realize what's going on, make some changes and do what we're supposed to do.

"When you go to the Olympics, you have such a short time to realize you can do something special," Ovechkin said. "It's kind of hard but it's interesting so our mission was to go to the final and win a gold medal but it's done. Right now we have 20 games here to get ready for the playoffs."

Ovechkin also talked briefly about Ryan Miller, the reaction the Buffalo goalie should get tonight in HSBC Arena and his role in the closing ceremonies boosting Sochi's role as host of the 2014 Games. Hear Ovechkin's full comments here:


---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

USA-Canada postgame chat

Poll: USA vs. Canada

The USA and Canada play for the men's hockey gold Sunday afternoon (3 p.m., Ch. 2) Who do you like to win?

AHL takes it outside today

While the long wait continues for Sunday's USA-Canada clash in Vancouver, the AHL is providing plenty of options today. As John Vogl told you yesterday, the Portland Pirates open a two-game series tonight in Rochester and they're the hottest team in the league. Portland tied its franchise record with its 10th straight victory Friday night, a 3-2 win in Albany, and can break the mark this evening in Blue Cross Arena.

The other big story today takes place further up the Thruway in Syracuse, where the Crunch and Binghamton Senators may break the AHL attendance record when they play an outdoor game at the New York State Fairgrounds. The game starts at 1 and will be televised by the NHL Network. So will a pregame show that starts at 12:30. More than 19,000 tickets have already been sold and the AHL mark of 20,672 is within reach. Sabres broadcaster and former player Rob Ray will be part of an autograph signing during the first intermission in a day full of activities for fans.

Taking it outside is the theme of the day on NHL Network. Today's programming is filled with repeats of the past NHL outdoor games. The 2008 Sabres-Penguins game at the Ralph will air at 6 p.m. tonight and 8 a.m. Sunday. Today's airing comes right after a 3:30 showing of a long-forgotten 1991 preseason game between the Wayne Gretzky-led Kings and Rangers outdoors at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Olympic stunners

The most anticipated hockey tournament in history is showing why through its early games. It might also be forcing folks to rethink their golden thoughts.

Canada and Russia went to Vancouver as the prohibitive favorites, with a gold-medal final between the powerhouses likely. That final should be written in pencil rather than ink.

Switzerland took Canada to a shootout Thursday before falling. Slovakia followed through on its shootout upset bid, dropping the Russians. The local boys have helped the United States open with two wins, though the Americans have hardly looked unbeatable.

"Anybody can beat anybody," Slovakian captain Zdeno Chara said.

So who will beat everybody in the end?

---John Vogl

Miller in net again for U.S.

Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller is in net again for the United States as it takes on Norway in its second game of the Olympics.

Not that it's a surprise.

"Ryan is going to play every game unless something drastic happens," coach Ron Wilson told reporters in Vancouver. "This is the playoffs as far as I am concerned. In the playoffs, you're usually running with your top goalie for the last six weeks of the season, and you don't think during the playoffs that you've got to get your backup some work."

---John Vogl

Drury's role

Chris Drury's time on Broadway has not been a smash hit. The former Sabres center has just 10 goals and 22 points this season, so it was a surprise to some that the Rangers forward was named to the U.S. Olympic team.

But when you think about the clutch performances throughout his life, he's exactly the type of player you want in an important game. USA coach Ron Wilson echoed those thoughts after Tuesday's 3-1 victory over Switzerland.

"Throughout his career and actually his whole life, the bigger the moment, the better Chris Drury plays. Everybody knows that," Wilson said. "At some point in this tournament, I think he's going to be a hero for us in one of these games. I know this is going to be corny, but he reminds me of a Mike Eruzione-type player. I'm not saying if we get to the gold-medal [game] that it's going to be Dru who is going to score, but he's that type of person. The glue in the room."

ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun tells the story of Drury's new role, which has him killing penalties and skating as the 13th forward.

"Dru will do anything to help your team win," Wilson said. "We talked yesterday at practice that I saw his role as a primary penalty killer and then I would fit him in and keep him involved. He's accepting of that. He's the one guy that, almost to a man, you guys [the media] have questioned as to why he's on the team. He's there because of the way he played today. He's going to do the little detailed grunt work.

"We've got plenty guys that can score, and he can still score. But we need people dedicated to being on the right side of the puck 100 percent of the time and to lead by example. We've got so many young guys, having his voice and experience in the room is huge."

---John Vogl

Miller's mask

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Ryan Miller learned the hard way that the Olympics aren't all about the spirit of competition and sportsmanship. It's also about making money.

Read more at "Gleason at the Games."

Burke staying strong

Brian Burke, the general manager of the Maple Leafs and the Team USA hockey team, met with reporters Sunday. It started with a chat about hockey. As this story by NHL.com explains, it turned into a talk about loss.

Burke's 21-year-old son, Brendan, died early this month in a car crash.

"I cry less every day," Burke told reporters Sunday.

Brendan Burke became well-known in hockey circles after ESPN's John Buccigross told Brendan's story in December.

---John Vogl

Parting shots

Here are a few comments from the Sabres as they packed their gear for the Olympic break following Saturday's 3-1 victory over San Jose:

Thomas Vanek: "The big difference is we know how to win again. In this losing streak I don't think we played bad hockey. At times we played better hockey than we did early in the year when we won some games. Obviously, when you lose you get frustrated easy, so I think this a good win for us. Everyone can take a few days rest and get mentally sharp again when we come back."

Mike Grier: "It’s a good chance for everyone to kind of get refreshed and refocused. I think mentally we were a little worn down. When things went bad, we kind of let it get to us. Kind of start fresh mentally."

Lindy Ruff: "The message is how tough it’s going to be when we get back and how prepared we’re going to have to be; to really take care of yourself the next eight or nine days; to make sure that you do stuff on your own so when we hit our first practice day we can build off this win."

Also, don't forget to check out Bucky Gleason's thoughts from the Games -- including a post on USA women's hockey -- over at the "Gleason at the Games" blog.

---John Vogl

Olympic hockey

Jack Johnson wouldn't divulge how much it cost him to participate in the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics.

"But," the L.A. Kings defenseman told USA Today, "it is worth every cent."

USA Today hockey writer Kevin Allen caught up with Johnson, who became the first active American NHL player to march in the Games' opening. The Kings didn't have a game Friday, so Johnson chartered a plane for himself and his family that got him in and out of Vancouver for the festivities without missing a game.

"It's been an absolute thrill and worth everything I've done through to get here," he told the paper.

Wayne Gretzky helped light the flame, though disappointingly not in the fashion I envisioned. The official cauldron is outdoors, so I figured he'd be inside BC Place with a hockey stick, take a slap shot and flames would slide along the floor as if they were a puck, travel outside the building and end up in the cauldron.

Yes, it would have been difficult, but if they could make it look like whales were swimming through the building, they could have done that.

Just a reminder that Bucky Gleason is in Vancouver for the Games, so be sure to follow him at our new "Gleason at the Games" blog.

---John Vogl

Lindy knows heat is on Canada

Lindy Ruff and his Olympic-bound players will take off for Vancouver Sunday morning. And while Ryan Miller is the key guy for a U.S. team forecast by many to not be a medal contender, Ruff is an assistant coach of a team expected to be in the hunt for goal. Fans in Canada will demand it, especially on home ice.

"I know the players are prepared," Ruff said today. "They're looking forward to the challenge. We've got the best players that have to play in every pressure situation inside every game. Every one of these players is a key player on every team. They play in situations where it's 2-1, 2-2, 3-2. They're the ones playing in it all the team.

"We've talked about it as a group that everyone understands for Canada that it's gold or bust. It's a headline that's been written so you deal with it and you move on."

Ruff said he watched Friday's opening ceremonies at home and said it added to his pre-Olympic feeling knowing that the Games are in his home country.

"Just the fact it's in Canada and that production is always an incredible production, I thought they really did a tremendous job with it," he said. "I thought the greatest part was the torch coming in and the guy in the wheelchair coming in (parlympic athlete Rick Hansen). That was incredible. Just that part alone really gives you the spirit of all types of athletics."

Then Ruff was asked if there was any trash talk yet with Miller in advance of the teams' showdown next week

"Not yet," said a grinning Ruff. "Maybe on the flight tomorrow."

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Miller on Miller a week before the Olympics

It's never a waste of time to talk to Ryan Miller. The media had to wait more than a half-hour today while Miller was meeting with some equipment company reps about his gear and it was no big deal. You knew it would be worth the wait and it was.

Like his teammates, Miller has been a little off his game of late. He's lost all three of his starts this month, posting a 4.07 goals-against average and .874 save percentange in them. That's ugly. Miller got in 25 minutes of extra practice today with Patrick Lalime, something that the compressed schedule hasn't allowed him to do much of lately. He's hoping that helps when he gets back in the net Tuesday against Boston as the Sabres try to snap their four-game losing streak.

"I've had games where I've made mistakes and had shutouts this year," Miller said. "I've had some games where I've made mistakes and they've burned me. I'm going to take it as they come, take it in stride and just go out and repeat. Everything evens out toward the end of the year. It feels big at the time. The big part of it is if you let things start to creep into your head, get uneasy and start to lose confidence as a team. That's exactly the wrong way to think."

As he usually does, Miller gave a wide-ranging interview today. He talked about his own play, dealing with Olympic preparations and even what went into the design on his Olympic mask. Listen to Miller's entire session with the media:

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl | jvogl@buffnews.com

About Sabres Edge


Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington | mharrington@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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