BUFFALO, N.Y. — Ryan Miller grew up idolizing goalie Dominik Hasek, and upon signing with the Buffalo Sabres in 2002, fantasized of at some point having his identify and quantity grasp from the sector rafters.
Not solely did Miller’s dream change into actuality on Thursday evening, he was wowed by having Hasek seem by video from his house within the Czech Republic to welcome him into the unique membership with the Sabres.
“Ryan, I’m honored to be part of your evening. As goalies, we all know what the place calls for, all eyes mounted on you,” Hasek stated throughout a ceremony held earlier than Buffalo’s recreation in opposition to the New York Islanders. “I’m happy with the historical past we each made right here on this metropolis, in entrance of those followers.”
In taking on as Buffalo’s beginning goalie in 2005, 4 years after Hasek was traded to Detroit, Miller established himself as one of many franchise’s finest over 10-plus seasons with the workforce.
“It was simply wonderful to have him say form phrases about me as a result of that’s precisely how I might observe his hockey,” stated Miller, who wore Hasek’s No. 39 via his junior and faculty profession at Michigan State earlier than switching to No. 30 upon becoming a member of the Sabres as a fifth-round decide in 1999.
“I wished to have my very own relationship with the followers. I wished to have my very own id,” the 42-year-old Miller stated, of desirous to separate himself from Hasek. “It’s fairly cool that taking that totally different path has led us to the identical place.”
Miller broke a few of Hasek’s information, and nonetheless ranks first on the franchise record with 284 wins, 540 video games performed, and a single-season mark of 41 victories. From East Lansing, Michigan, Miller’s 391 wins — two greater than Hasek — cut up over 4 groups over 18 seasons, rank first amongst U.S.-born goalies, and 14th general.
He retired from the NHL two years in the past following 4 seasons with Anaheim. He additionally performed with St. Louis and Vancouver.
Miller is finest remembered for his time in Buffalo. In 2006 and ’07, he led the Sabres to consecutive Jap Convention remaining appearances, which Buffalo misplaced each instances.
After which got here his Vezina Trophy-winning season in 2009-10, which coincided with Miller backstopping the US to a silver medal on the 2010 Vancouver Video games, the place he was named the event’s MVP.
For all his stops across the league, and now making his house in Southern California, Miller stays keen on Buffalo.
“I liked my time right here, and I’m glad it was an impactful time, and that the followers loved that point,” stated Miller, who stays a part-time NHL guide on goalie guidelines. “Nevertheless it’s additionally a time to reconnect. I like Buffalo, and I wish to be round extra and now I will be round.”
Becoming a member of Miller for the on-ice ceremony had been quite a few former teammates, coaches and members of his household. Additionally in attendance was NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
“He was the spine of this workforce,” former Sabres ahead Thomas Vanek stated of Miller. “For me as a participant going into each recreation I knew we had an opportunity to win as a result of we had Ryan Miller.”
Miller couldn’t resist poking enjoyable on the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Sabres’ cross-border rival, in a remark that acquired one of many louder cheers of the ceremony.
Miller stated: “I wished your complete metropolis to get up in a superb temper as a result of we beat the Maple Leafs the evening earlier than.”
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