I can’t say that it’s a huge surprise that Ryan Miller is struggling to back up his amazing 2009-10 season and Olympic stretch. That being said, I expected a mild drop-off (maybe a dip like Tim Thomas experienced from his 2008-09 Vezina-winning year to his not-as-bad-as-it-seemed season in 09-10) but things have been way worse for Miller and the Buffalo Sabres than most people expected.
Much like the New Jersey Devils and Zach Parise, their best player’s injury will add injury to the insult that is their place in the league standings. Thankfully for Buffalo, though, it doesn’t sound like it’s anywhere near as big a problem as Parise’s knee.
Miller apparently is suffering from a lower body injury, something that might or might not exclude him from Wednesday’s game against the Boston Bruins.
Coach Lindy Ruff said Tuesday that Miller does not have a groin injury. Ruff won’t rule on Miller’s status until Wednesday morning, before the game with the Bruins.
Miller returned to practice on a limited basis after missing Monday’s workout. He was often stretching his legs during breaks.
Odd, that kind of behavior indicates a groin injury, but I’m no doctor.
There’s no doubt that Miller’s play declined from last season to this one. His 90.3 save percentage is his lowest he registered as a full-time starter (the second worst was the 90.6 percentage he put together in his first 40+ start campaign in 2005-06) while his 2.71 GAA is his highest since he put up a 2.71 mark in the 06-07 season.