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On the Air: Miller talk on Sirius

By Mike Harrington

A reminder that tonight's game against Boston is a 7:30 faceoff on the NBC Sports Network, which will be airing a one-hour pregame show starting at 6:30. The peacock folks will have plenty to talk about in the wake of last night's 3-2 win over Carolina, and the game itself was obviously irrelevant.

The talk of the town -- and the talk of the league -- is GM Tim Murray's pregame press conference, where he confirmed the Sabres are actively shopping Ryan Miller. And Miller's postgame admission that a trade would probably be best for all sides was the first time the veteran goaltender definitively came out with that stance.

In my column for today's editions, I wrote that the Sabres should immediately shut Miller down and not risk an injury that could derail a deal. Apologies to folks who have tickets for Friday's game against San Jose but Miller took quite a shot early last night when Marcus Foligno dumped Carolina's Riley Nash right on top of him. Those are the kind of plays where goalies get hurt and that can't happen now.

I talked about Miller some more earlier today on SiriusXM's "Hockey This Morning" with Mike Rossy and Mick Kern. You can hear the audio of that interview by clicking the file below.

Sirius XM Hockey This Morning

Miller on Sabres talking trade: 'That's probably best for everybody' (includes audio)

By John Vogl

Ryan Miller knows he's likely to be traded by the deadline next Wednesday.

"The things that they’re going to have to do are probably going to come during the trade deadline, and maybe I’m one of them," the Sabres goaltender said tonight after making 36 saves in a 3-2 victory over Carolina. "I don’t want to close anything off right now, but I know they’re kind of looking around for opportunity. I think that’s probably best for everybody."

Miller, who is set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, knows he doesn't have many seasons left, so a trade to a contender would seemingly be welcomed.

"I’m going to be 34 this year, and let’s be realistic," he said. "There’s only a handful of guys who played effectively longer into their 30s. I’d like to be one of those, but there’s no guarantees."

For the full audio of Miller's interview, plus Ted Nolan's news conference, click the audio files below.

Ryan Miller

Ted Nolan

Plan is still for Miller to be the man in goal Tuesday

By Mike Harrington

It was total game mode for the Sabres today in First Niagara Center as they practiced for about an hour, with plenty of work on the power play, in advance of tomorrow's return to the NHL schedule and a visit by the Carolina Hurricanes. 

The Sabres continued to practice today with fill-in goalies, and interim coach Ted Nolan said his regular tandem of Ryan Miller & Jhonas Enroth, along with defenseman Henrik Tallinder were expected back in Buffalo early this afternoon. 

Nolan reiterated his plan is to start Miller tomorrow and not call up a goaltender from Rochester. He said he also did not expect any other callups from the Amerks for now.

It will be interesting to see how Miller reacts to the time-zone adjustment from Russia. Someone like Tallinder would only see 15-20 minutes of ice time, compared to a goalie who is on the ice the entire game.

"That will be like playing at 4 a.m. for him maybe," Nolan said of Miller. "It will be a different challenge but hopefully he has some sleep and will be somewhat awake at some point."

"Having done a couple of those overseas trips, it's never a good feeling right when you get back," said defenseman Tyler Myers. "We're going to have to help Millsie out as much as we can."

Steve Ott and Matt Moulson were both swarmed by reporters inquiring about the trade deadline, including a crew from TSN in Toronto. Neither offered anything new on their status. They haven't heard about a trade or discussed any contract extensions with the team. Moulson said he has talked to Pat LaFontaine, the team's president of hockey operations, and it's known Ott has as well.

The most unusual thing about practice came late in the session, when John Scott suddenly let out a loud bellow, broke his stick on the ice, through it against the boards and headed for the dressing room. There was some thought there was an injury involved but Nolan said afterward he actually threw Scott, who was filling in on defense, out of practice.

"He just fumbled the puck a few times in practice and I didn't like it," Nolan said. "In order for us to get better here, we have to practice better. He just had one of those moments I didn't like so I sent him off."

Click below to hear Nolan's complete session with the media, including his thoughts on the impact of the trade deadline.

Ted Nolan

Miller will be first goalie back to Buffalo, so he'll start for Sabres on Tuesday

By John Vogl

The United States' Olympic tournament ended with a thud today as Finland routed the Americans, 5-0, in the bronze-medal game. The U.S. team will be on its way back to North America soon, which means Ryan Miller gets Buffalo's first game after the Sochi break.

The Sabres start a run of three games in four nights Tuesday, and Miller will get the nod against Carolina. Backup Jhonas Enroth will represent Sweden in the gold-medal game Sunday, so Miller will have more time to get adjusted for the NHL.

"Yeah, now that he’s going to be the first one home," coach Ted Nolan said after practice today. "That time zone is tough. He’ll have a little bit more time to adjust than Jhonas."

The Sabres skated for about an hour in First Niagara Center, their second session following a two-week break.

"We worked the guys pretty good here today, and they feel better today," Nolan said. "We’ve got a couple more days to go."

Numerology: Miller vs. Quick

By Mike Harrington

Team USA coach Dan Bylsma said point-blank here last week that "I'm a Miller family fan" while talking about the goaltending decision he faced at the Olympics. The Miller family may not be much of a fan of Bylsma right about now with the word coming out of Russia today that Los Angeles' Jonathan Quick will get the start in goal in the Americans' Olympic opener against Slovakia.

I'm going to reserve total judgment on this decision for now because I'm still thinking Bylsma is splitting the first two games, starting Quick against Slovakia and putting Miller in net for the real juggernaut Saturday against Russia, before ultimately going forward with the hotter hand.

I asked Bylsma about exactly that scenario when he was here last week and it was the only question in an eight-minute interview he brusquely shrugged off. He said only, "I'm not locked into anything." Based on his reaction, I might have been on to something there. We'll see. Miller went 18 for 18 in shots against, plus a shootout save, against Russian star Alexander Ovechkin in two games this year. That might come into play too.

That said, Miller has not played a game now since that loss to the Penguins. Starting him against Russia will be his first game in 10 days, usually a dicey proposition for a goalie.

Here's a look comparing the numbers of Miller and Quick.

2013-14 Season
Miller  14-22-3, 2.74, .923
Quick  16-13-2, 2.18, .911

Last 10 games
Miller 4-4-2, 2.84, .912
Quick 2-7-1, 2.46, .898

Vs. Pittsburgh
Miller 0-2-0, 3.55, .896
Quick 0-1-0, 9.02, .571 (gave up 3 goals on 7 shots and was pulled after one period on Jan. 30)

Miller by month
Oct. 1-10-0, 3.03, .919
Nov. 4-5-2, 3.08, .917
Dec. 5-2-1, 1.82, .949
Jan. 4-3-2, 2.29, .927
Feb. 0-2-0, 6.00, .836

Quick by month
Oct. 8-4-0, 2.56, .903
Nov. 2-1-0, 1.74, .911
Dec. DNP-injured
Jan. 5-6-2, 1.85, .925
Feb. 1-2-0, 2.68, .882

Related content:

Roster freeze is on: No major moves made as NHL teams stand pat at Olympic deadline

Nice snark from the Sabres Twitter feed, using this picture to announce the NHL's Olympic roster freeze was on.

By Mike Harrington

We've hit 3 p.m. Eastern time on Feb. 7. The Olympic flame is lit in Sochi and the NHL roster freeze has gone into effect with basically no moves of any consequence taking place.

The Sabres tweeted the above picture to announce the freeze and essentially confirm that the likes of Ryan Miller, Steve Ott, Matt Moulson and Henrik Tallinder will remain on the roster through the Games. It's the same elsewhere: Old friend Thomas Vanek remains an Islander and Ryan Callahan remains a Ranger.

The lack of activity was completely foreshadowed by new Sabres GM Tim Murray in an interview yesterday in Ottawa and by many other NHL executives. No reason to pay somebody over the Olympic break to not play for their new team.

In case you missed it earlier today, the Sabres put Linus Omark on waivers and sent Chad Ruhwedel and Phil Varone back to Rochester so they could play in the Amerks' six games during the NHL's Olympic break.

Rosters are now frozen until 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 23, which is the day the gold medal game will be played in Sochi. Teams cannot return to practice until Feb. 19. The Sabres play the league's first game after the break, the Feb. 25 makeup game with Carolina.

Be sure to read Sunday's editions of The News, as John Vogl and I will have dueling columns on the status of Miller: Should he stay or should he go?

Sabres GM Murray: More a matter of 'if' than 'when' for a Miller trade

By John Vogl

OTTAWA -- Based on talks so far, Sabres General Manager Tim Murray says it's more a matter of "if" than "when" in regards to a Ryan Miller trade.

The goaltender is Buffalo's biggest bargaining chip as the NHL heads into Friday's Olympic break trade freeze. But Murray said this evening nothing is imminent and he said he doesn't expect much action league-wide heading into the break.

Part of the reason is teams have to pay players during the break. For teams near the salary cap, it doesn't make sense to pick up Miller now and pay his $6.25 million salary for days in which he's not even part of the team.

Murray is entering his first trade period, and he says that like on-ice rookies he's being tested by veteran GMs. He's content that he knows players and knows other general managers well enough that he knows what he's doing.

His full interview is below.

As far as the Sabres' game against Ottawa tonight, coach Ted Nolan said Marcus Foligno and Linus Omark will sit. Ville Leino and Zenon Konopka will return to the lineup.

Tyler Myers will miss his second game with a leg injury. Jhonas Enroth will start in goal.

Nolan's chat is also below.

Tim Murray

Ted Nolan

Pens/Team USA coach Bylsma: 'I'm a Miller family fan'

By Mike Harrington

Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma met the media this afternoon at First Niagara Center just like he always would after any gameday skate. But the conversation was far from a normal one. Tonight's Penguins-Sabres game? Pffft to that. It was almost all Olympics and Ryan Miller chatter.

Bylsma and Co. have a wickedly tough decision to make in goal for Team USA next week in Sochi: Do they go with Miller, the hero of the Vancouver Games, or ride Los Angeles Jonathan Quick, less than two years removed from a Stanley Cup?

Bylsma had a good chuckle today when asked if Miller's body of work from Vancouver might have to tip the scales in his favor. Because he got peppered with similar questions about Quick when the Penguins were in Los Angeles just six days ago.

"I've been asked it a lot of different ways. I was asked it a little bit differently in LA," said a smiling Bylsma. "There's no question that Ryan Miller by all accounts was the best player maybe in the tournament in Vancouver. ... I'm a Miller family fan. I grew up in Michigan so it's not just Ryan that's a face or a name in USA and American hockey. And Ryan has certainly been that. He's had more than one USA mask on his face and he certainly was that in 2010, no question."

Continue reading "Pens/Team USA coach Bylsma: 'I'm a Miller family fan'" »

Miller says there's been no talks about contract -- or trades

By Mike Harrington

Ryan Miller's situation is kind of back to where it was in April. Any game he plays could be his last one with the Buffalo Sabres. While it seems chatter about a trade of Miller prior to the Olympics has pretty much died down, tomorrow's game here against Pittsburgh could be his final one at home in Blue & Gold if the Sabres were to deal him immediately after the Olympic roster freeze ends.

"Anything is possible," Miller said after practice today in a wide-ranging session with reporters. "Just with the way the season's gone and the direction they could be headed. But again, we'll just wait to see what the plans start to become."

Miller admitted his future remains murky because the Sabres are still trying to forge their plan going forward.

"I still don't know what to say. There's been a change here even since there was a change here before," he said, referring to the hiring of new GM Tim Murray. "So it's like I'm waiting to see what the plan is and waiting to see what they have to offer. We haven't talked about anything with regard to contracts and we haven't talked about anything with regard to trades. They're doing their business."

So I asked Miller point-blank if he's told the Sabres he wants out or if he's told them he's willing to stay. He was understandably evasive.

Continue reading "Miller says there's been no talks about contract -- or trades" »

LaFontaine: 'I think you'd love to keep Ryan Miller'

By Mike Harrington

New General Manager Tim Murray's comment today that everyone is tradeable on a 30th-place team certainly has to echo in the mind of pending Sabres free agents Ryan Miller, Steve Ott and Matt Moulson. Miller, in particular, is becoming an interesting case study in the wake of a season that has seen him post a .927 save percentage and earn a berth on the U.S. Olympic team even though the Sabres are the worst team in the league.

He's having a great season but can he keep it up from age 33 and beyond, particularly when he's said he wants a Henrik Lundqvist-type contract that would take him to 40?

After the formal press conference ended today in the First Niagara Center atrium, president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine had plenty to say about the prospects of keeping Miller. He's all for it.

"To come by a goalie like that who wants to stay here should he choose to want to stay here helps our team grow," LaFontaine said. "It gives us an opporutnity to develop. If he wants to be here under the right terms, I think you'd love to keep Ryan Miller. He's involved in the community. He's part of the foundation for this organization. If that is going to be a decision and the terms and everything will work, it would be great."

LaFontaine said he and Murray will be meeting with Miller in short order to take his pulse. Miller declined to speak to the media today until he's had a chance to speak with Murray.

"The most important thing is to listen to what Ryan Miller wants to do," LaFontaine said. "Obviously you'd love to keep a great goalie like that. He knows Buffalo. Everybody loves him here but at the same instance I've got to know what he wants to do. If it fits into the plan long term and financially it's a good fit, Ryan Miller will be here. If not, if he doesn't want to be here, we'll make the best choice for the future of our organization."

More on Miller: Is Team USA leaving No. 1 spot in goal open for Kings' Quick?

By Mike Harrington

MINNEAPOLIS -- Be sure to keep it here in a couple hours for the latest updates on tonight's Sabres-Wild game from the XCel Energy Center in St. Paul. We're on Central time, remember, so the Sabres' "morning" skate doesn't begin until 12:30 p.m. in Buffalo. (And I might even have another travel story or two.).

There was certainly more from my side-of-the-road in rural-Minnesota chat yesterday with Ryan Miller that did not make my story on his Olympic selection in today's editions.

The most notable item was Miller's admission that the Olympic process has been a huge motivating factor for him to get through the Sabres' horrific rebuilding season. We didn't talk about Miller's contract status because nothing has changed with the Sabres still pursuing GM options, but it's clear he knows he's playing for a lot this season even if the team isn't.

"You can let the struggles be a distraction but I've tried to take myself to a different place here," Miller said. "The last couple years have been a disappointment career-wise not getting a chance to be in the playoffs and doing things like that I hoped to. This really gives you something that's one of your career goals."

Continue reading "More on Miller: Is Team USA leaving No. 1 spot in goal open for Kings' Quick?" »

Video: Sabres' Miller steals a win from shot-happy Capitals

By John Vogl

Hockey is a team sport, but the Sabres were a one-man show Sunday night. Ryan Miller stopped 49 of 50 shots through 65 minutes of play, then blanked all six Capitals in the shootout to give Buffalo a 2-1 victory.

Miller improved his save percentage to .927 on a night when he was needed more than ever. The Capitals outshot the Sabres, 50-17, the biggest disparity for a Buffalo victory in team history. The 33-shot disadvantage topped the 31-chance margin during a 7-5 win over Boston on March 21, 1971, when the Bruins had a 56-25 edge.

Continue reading "Video: Sabres' Miller steals a win from shot-happy Capitals" »

Miller confirms chats with Pat but says Lundqvist deal sets the standard for goalies

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.

Continue reading "Miller confirms chats with Pat but says Lundqvist deal sets the standard for goalies" »

Nolan on Miller: 'I'd like to build around him'

By Mike Harrington

Since he arrived Nov. 13, interim coach Ted Nolan has made no secret of his desire to keep Ryan Miller and not trade him. Miller's status was again a topic at Sabres practice in the wake of the seven-year, $59.5 million contract extension Henrik Lundqvist inked today with the New York Rangers, Buffalo's opponent here Thursday night.

Is Miller, a pending unrestricted free agent, an asset to use in a trade or a building block? Nolan definitely said he favors the latter.

"You look at all championship teams, and it starts from the goaltending out," Nolan said. "You build around him vs. using him as a pawn to try to get something to make you better. You learn to deal with the now as a coach. You've got one of the better goaltenders in the world here. I'd like to build around him."

Nolan said as a coach he doesn't talk specifically to players about contracts and the like. Still, he said he has talked openly with president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine about the culture he wants created around the Sabres.

"I talked to Pat about this and I said, ‘The one thing we want to do is create an environment where people want to come here and stay here,''' Nolan said. "So hopefully he likes what we’re doing and you never know.”

Miller was unavailable for comment today. He had already departed the building when reporters entered the locker room and a Sabres spokesman apologized for Miller's absence, which was for a previously scheduled personal commitment. (Miller often has post-practice meetings in the days leading up to his annual Catwalk for Charity event, which is scheduled for Dec. 15).

Miller does not normally speak on gamedays after the morning skate, but may make an exception tomorrow because of his absence today.

Nolan's comments on Miller came near the end of his seven-minute session with the media today, which you can listen to below:

Ted Nolan

Locker room audio: Plenty of Miller talk

By Mike Harrington

The Sabres' bizarre 3-2 shootout win over the Los Angeles Kings was really all Ryan Miller.

He made 43 saves while enduring the eighth 40+-shot game of the season for a Buffalo opponent. He improved to 46-27 all-time in shootouts, snapping a tie with Henrik Lundqvist for the all-time NHL lead in victories, and did so in a game where the Sabres were outshot, 45-17.

Only one time in the Sabres' history, a 7-5 win at Boston on March 21, 1971, has the club won a game when outshot by more than it was Tuesday. That first-year expansion version of the Sabres survived despite getting outshot, 56-25, thanks to a hat trick from Eddie Shack.

Miller made 43 saves, the fifth time this year he's stopped at least 40 shots. I don't care that he's 3-11 or has a 3.28 GAA. He's been Buffalo's MVP by nine miles thus far and this is his best year since his Vezina campaign.

And, believe it or not, I think the Sabres should trade him today. His value is high. Get something while the getting is good, Darcy. And before he gets hurt.

Click below to hear postgame audio from Miller, captain Steve Ott and coach Ron Rolston.

Ryan Miller

Steve Ott

Ron Rolston

Sabres' postgame thoughts from Miller, Girgensons, Rolston

By John Vogl

NEW YORK -- The Sabres have been mocked and trashed by outsiders all season. After a lopsided 2-0 loss to the New York Rangers -- only 44 saves from Ryan Miller kept it close -- it seems the team realized it has serious issues.

"It’s just everyone looking in the mirror and understanding how deep of a [expletive] we are in right now," rookie Zemgus Girgensons said. "You have to help the other guys work their way up, and if we keep playing like this, not helping each other, we’re going to die individually. We’re going to stop being hockey players. No one will want players like that."

"When everyone wants this to stop, it’ll stop," Miller said. "We seem to be making more situations for ourselves than even the other team can create. It’s on us to dig out of it and start having the right attitude and right approach. It’s been a lot of games searching, trying to figure it out. Enough’s enough."

Ryan Miller

Ron Rolston

Sabres fans wise to keep eye on case involving Avs' Varlamov

By John Vogl

NEW YORK -- Inside the NHL on Sunday surmised that if the Sabres want to find a good in-season trade partner for Ryan Miller, they'll need to locate a desperate team. Colorado just might become that team.

Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov appeared in a Denver court today on charges of kidnapping and assault. His girlfriend, Evgeniya Vavrinyuk, told police that Varlamov kicked her down, stomped on her, grabbed her by the hair and dragged her out of her bedroom.

Police and court documents say Varlamov told her "if this were Russia, he would have beat her more."

"Her statement is that this is the most minor of the beatings she received," said her attorney, Robert Abrams. "She's received five in all, and the last one was to unconsciousness."

Though Varlamov joined the Avs on their flight to Dallas today, the charges are obviously serious. According to the Denver Post, "The kidnapping charge is a Class 4 felony, punishable by to two to six years in prison, according Colorado statutes. Class 4 felony kidnapping is defined by taking someone and moving them to another place without their consent."

Colorado was considered a possible landing spot for Miller during the offseason, but Varlamov put those rumors down by starting 7-1 with a 1.76 goals-against average and .945 save percentage. The Avs appear to be legitimate Stanley Cup hopefuls -- they lead the league in goals allowed per game at 1.46 and rank sixth in goals scored at 3.18 -- and have 36-year-old J.S. Giguere as a backup.

Miller could become a target if it Varlamov heads to jail.

The Miller Chronicles: He can't do any more (w/locker room audio)

By Mike Harrington

CHICAGO -- If Ryan Miller is trying to impress the Team USA selection committee and perhaps the rest of the NHL that might be interested in a trade, he's sure doing a good job. 

Miller made 19 saves in a first period that looked like the JV vs. the varsity and finished with 38 saves in the Sabres' 2-1 loss to the Blackhawks. The guy should sue for non-support: He's 0-4 despite a 2.29 goals-against average and .941 save percentage. He's second in the league in shots against (153) and saves (144).

"He's basically at this point one of the best players in the league in terms of influence on their hockey team," coach Ron Rolston said.

"We started to play 5-on-5 more. Our 5-on-5 chances were pretty good," Miller said, when asked about the difference over the final 30 minutes. "We just can't get ourselves in all these different situations over the course of the night ... We find ways to put ourselves in bad situations. Tonight it was the penalties. It left the first period as us having to defend and run around and waste energy. It takes time to get into it and [the Hawks] have energy from the night before."

Miller certainly seemed frustrated by his team's lack of scoring but what can he do? 

"It puts a lot of emphasis on the back side. You can't make any mistakes," he said. "That's the way the league is going. Scoring trend is downward. We're going to have to earn our goals and find ways to score. If you're not scoring the traditional way, you've got to find, new unique ways."

Click below to hear audio from Miller, Rolston and Vanek

Ryan Miller

Drew Stafford

Thomas Vanek

Ron Rolston


Sabres' Miller available for next game, Tallinder back this weekend; Grigorenko may sit

By John Vogl

Ryan Miller made it through another full workout today without feeling the effects of a recent groin strain, so the goaltender will be available for the Sabres when they host Columbus on Thursday.

"We’re in a case where I really only missed one game in the schedule, and hopefully I get back in the rhythm where I was and we’ll go again," said Miller, who didn't dress on his scheduled night off Saturday in Pittsburgh and served as the backup Tuesday.

Miller could soon be joined by another Buffalo regular. Henrik Tallinder (upper body) worked out with skating coach Dawn Braid this morning, and coach Ron Rolston said the defenseman should be available Saturday when the Sabres visit Chicago.

Nikita Zadorov, one of the Sabres' two first-round draft picks, practiced for the first time since suffering a finger injury during training camp. The 18-year-old defenseman is still likely to be returned to his junior team in London, Ont.

"He would be available if we wanted to keep him here," Rolston said. "We have to make that decision."

The coach also has a decision to make regarding center Mikhail Grigorenko. The 19-year-old started on the third line during Tuesday's 3-2 overtime loss but soon was benched and skated just 8:07.

Rookie Johan Larsson took Grigorenko's spot today in the middle of wingers Zemgus Girgensons and Brian Flynn. Grigorenko filled in for absent center Cody Hodgson alongside Steve Ott and Thomas Vanek, but Hodgson (maintenance day) will play Thursday, which would leave Grigorenko out of the lineup if the forwards stay the same.

"We’re in a tough situation where we go back to just putting people in the right situations, and the matchup wasn’t good," Rolston said of the benching before moving on to Grigorenko's competitiveness. "It’s getting there, but it needs to continue to improve. That’s that last hurdle for him. That’s something that he’s going to work on."

Ron Rolston

Ryan Miller

Miller feeling better, wants to be cautious early in season; Hodgson misses practice, too

By John Vogl

The Sabres had officially concluded practice when Ryan Miller skated onto the ice. After stretching and testing his sore groin, the goaltender took shots from the stragglers who remained in First Niagara Center.

The session went better than Miller anticipated, but he's still not sure if he'll be ready to start Tuesday when the Sabres host Tampa Bay. Miller, who didn't dress for Saturday's loss in Pittsburgh, will talk today with athletic trainer Tim Macre before making a decision.

"I was a little tight after the last game, and I just wanted to be cautious early in the season," Miller told The News. "So far, so good. I felt better than I kind of anticipated, so I’ll see if I can make myself available. But no practice today, and after a couple days off I’m not sure what the right course of action will be.

"I just want to make sure it’s not going to be something that’s going to turn into weeks. I thought it’d be a day or two, and it took about a day longer. It’s just not something you want to creep into your body, your game, your mind-set. Get it out, get it done. You don’t want groin stuff to pop up."

Cody Hodgson also sat out today. Coach Ron Rolston said the center is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, but Rolston expects Hodgson to be in the lineup Tuesday.

Marcus Foligno will return after missing the opening three games with a shoulder injury. To hear from Foligno and Rolston, click the audio files below.

Ron Rolston

Marcus Foligno

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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 |

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 |

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 |