Sunday, May 20, 2007

Dear Ryan Miller...

(x-posted to my blog)

Dear Ryan,

Back when Marty Biron was traded, most people agreed that it needed to happen - he was getting paid an awful lot to cheerlead from the bench - but there were some rumblings from certain quarters. Rumblings that maybe you needed to know Marty was behind you to take over if your play slipped. Rumblings that you were too soft, too prone to getting tired halfway through the season to be relied on so heavily. Rumblings that the fragile kid who cried after losing in his hometown a few years ago was still too much a a part of you, that you hadn't quite grown up enough. Rumblings that you could be maddeningly inconsistent - great one game, soft the next. Heck, sometimes great one SHOT, soft the next. When the powers that be traded Marty everyone understood that they were saying, "Ryan Miller is the man we want in goal. We believe in him." We all waited to see if you would answer the bell.

Well, you answered the freakin' bell all right. You answered your bell and the bell of every single one of your teammates for most of the playoffs. Listen, us Buffalo fans, we're in a weird emotional state right now. I have about a million feelings jumping around. I'm frustrated that the coaching staff watched the powerplay struggle all season and seemed to feel it would be just fine in the playoffs - one powerplay goal in two of the Ottawa games potentially changes the outcome. I'm angry that the team who swore it was playing all season for the playoffs looked so damn uninterested for most of them, finally waking up when it was too late to do much but fight the good fight. I'm happy that they were able to wake up a put up a fight. I'm optimistic about the future of the team. All that "the Sabres must win now before Drury and/or Briere" stuff the media has been trying to feed us all year is bollocks. There's plenty of young talent on the team and it's possible that they just weren't ready this year. But mostly I'm disappointed. I'm disappointed that such a wonderful season came to such an unenthusiastic thud of an ending.

But you, Ryan... You were the bright spot. You were the joy for every Buffalo fan. You're the guy I feel disappointed for because you absolutely deserve to still be playing. I would almost loan you to Ottawa for the next round because you should be in the Cup Finals. (And anyone in Ottawa who wouldn't take that deal is an idiot. They got the win, but I think we can now definitively say that yes, you ARE that much better than Emery.) You deserved so much better than what you got from your team, even if you would never admit that in public. The Senators defense repeatedly bailed out Emery, making sure they were there when he needed them. Too often you were an island.

Thank you for showing up every night. Thank you for fighting even when no one else in blue and gold seemed very interested in doing so. Thank you for keeping the team in every game of every series. Thank you for standing in front of your locker after all of those games and answering question after question while some of your teammates - even one with a letter on his chest - refused to do so. Thank you for taking responsibilty for losses even though you would've been perfectly within your rights to point the finger of blame at the guys around you. Thank you for stepping up when it mattered, on the ice and off. Thank you for giving us your best, for giving us everything in you. Believe me, we know it and we appreciate it.

Have a great off-season. Try not to think about hockey too much. Training camp will be here before you know it. I, for one, am glad to know you'll be back between the pipes and I hope you're there for a long time to come.

Hey, how do you feel about quarterbacking the powerplay next season? Just something to think about...

Love,
Heather B.

9 comments:

Margee said...

Miller was phenomenal. He kept the Sabres competitive throughout this series. He should stand tall and proud for the work he did.

Scott said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDSY5-y2BRs

To cheer up some buffalo fans...let us know what you think

american oil said...

...sniff...sniff....we love you crunchy....

KMS2 said...

On one hand, I think it's very classy of Miller to not blame the mistakes and losses on someone else. On the other hand, everyone witnessed the outstanding performances he gave every night. Maybe he should have called people out because then maybe it would have lit a fire under their asses and his team would have played better in front of him. Maybe, who knows...

Heather B. said...

kms2: I wouldn't be surprised if he did have words with the team behind closed doors. After the first couple of games in the Ottawa series he did make some politely worded but very pointed comments about the team forcing cute passes and trying to play cute for the home crowd and he sounded a bit cranky so I think the feelings were there but kept to private conversation. I personally wouldn't have blamed him if he'd started breaking sticks and throwing them around the lockerroom after a couple of games. We were waiting for him to just start carrying the puck out of the zone himself.

scott: I'm watching right now and so far it's pretty funny :-)

Interchangeable Parts said...

Dear Heather,

Thanks so much for the kind words. I really appreciate them. I want you to know that I'm being very well taken-care of right now, and I think I'll be able to get over the emotional toll of this series before too much longer. The dark-haired one they call "Pookie" doesn't like me as much as that crazy kid Stafford, but the red-haired one named "Schnookie" is letting me have all the yogurt-covered raisins I could ask for. As long as I stay in their care, I think I'll be ready for the new season when it comes around. But it's still nice to know you appreciate what I did this playoffs.

Thanks a million,
Crunchy

Heather B. said...

ICP: Funny :-) When I was watching Ryan's postgame interview (saddest thing ever) I was actually thinking he need some Schnookie-style TLC so I'm glad he's getting it!

Kate said...

Aww, sweet pea Ryan Miller. I want to cradle him in my arms and feed him warm, fresh baked cookies. He was so awesome to watch.

I am a brand new hockey fan, swept up in the excitement of my adopted hometown. I am so glad I first got to know hockey in Buffalo.

Jordi said...

Sorry dear, my deepest sympathies - belated. At least you can join the "I hate playoffs" bandwagon.