Buffalo Sabres goalies Ryan Miller has a sore neck and is experiencing headaches after colliding with Bruins forward Milan Lucic Saturday in Boston.
Miller met with the media today and spoke on a number of topics. The full audio of the interview can be found at BuffaloNews.com.
A brief rundown of what he had to say:
—-On the league’s decision not to suspend Lucic: “I’m disappointed, but it’s out of my control. I had my sound bite. You guys know how I feel. I don’t think that’s changed much. There are two sides to it, and they chose to go that direction.”
—-On the collision with Lucic: “I don’t think I was that far out of the net when you consider it was a free puck moving towards my crease, and I went to make a reasonable play on the puck.”
—-On the Bruins saying it wasn’t even a headshot: “I didn’t know they were all doctors…concussions are caused by many things…it doesn’t need to be a direct impact.”
—-On his teammates: “These guys in here have my back.”
—-On the way the Sabres should’ve responded: “Lucic’s a tough guy, what are you going to do? Try and hack him? Spear him? Cheapshot him? Then you’re no better than he is.”
—-On Lucic’s explanation for the collision: “Yeah, I’ve heard what he had to say. Do I buy it? I think he said what he had to say to avoid getting suspended…It’s the NHL, man — the guy can skate. He can stop, he can turn, he can pick his head up….If he didn’t see me, I don’t even know how that could happen.”
Miller also went on at length about how team matters are settled behind closed doors and not in front of the media, so I think it’s safe to assume there was plenty of discussion about this incident among Sabres players and coaches. What exactly was said we’ll have to leave to our imaginations.
The hype surrounding Connor McDavid couldn’t be much greater, but finally expectations will start to give way to results.
The NHL career that’s been talked about for years will begin tonight when his Edmonton Oilers face St. Louis.
“It’s something that you dream of for so long,” McDavid told NHL.com. “The draft is one thing, but to finally be in this situation is another, so I’m really excited. It’s been a long road; it’s been a lot of hard work. I think a lot of guys’ stories are different in how they get here, but the one common theme is hard work and my story is not any different that way.”
McDavid has transformed the Oilers with his mere presence. Its breathed fresh optimism into a city that have watched this team struggle in its efforts to dig out of the NHL basement. One also has to wonder if Peter Chiarelli would be the team’s new general manager and Todd McLellan its new head coach if Edmonton hadn’t won the draft lottery.
But where will he lead Edmonton? Will he be just the sixth 70-point rookie of the salary cap era? Will he struggle out of the gate, putting the hype into question? Perhaps he’ll draw comparisons to Steven Stamkos, who had a modest rookie campaign by the standards of a highly regarded top pick, but has nevertheless gone on to become a superstar.
That would surprise Stamkos as the Lightning captain feels McDavid is better than he is currently. Just further proof that those lofty expectations are coming from all sides.
“You don’t want to put too much weight on his shoulders; he’s an 18-year-old kid,” Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli said. “I don’t care how good he is or how good he’ll be, it’s a lot to shoulder if you’re supposed to be the guy and you’re the only guy. Fortunately we have a lot of high-pedigree players that are high picks who have gone through similar situations that he’s going through.”
Edmonton certainly has no shortage of first overall picks, but none as highly regarded as McDavid. But then, few ever are.
Related: There’s ‘a real positive vibe’ in Buffalo, where Eichel will make NHL debut tonight
Jack Eichel didn’t disappoint in the preseason, finishing with six points in four games, including two shorthanded goals.
Tonight in Buffalo, his NHL career will start for real when the Sabres host the Ottawa Senators in regular-season action.
“It’s something I’ve dreamed of my whole life, stepping foot on that ice and making the NHL,” Eichel said, per NHL.com. “It’s kind of been a whirlwind, but you’re finally playing hockey for a living and everything you’ve done your whole life is to get to this point. It’s pretty special.”
The 18-year-old’s debut was front-page news this morning in Buffalo, where the Sabres have been among the NHL’s worst teams since last making the playoffs in 2010-11.
Granted, even with the additions of Eichel, Ryan O'Reilly, Evander Kane, Robin Lehner and Cody Franson, expectations for 2015-16 remain modest for the new-look Sabres. Certainly, a spot in the playoffs would count as a surprise.
But for the fans of a team that’s barely possessed the puck the past couple of years, it’s night and day.
“People are excited,” GM Tim Murray said earlier this week. “It’s great. They think we’ve improved, and there’s a real positive vibe, I believe.
“That’s what I said to our coaches, ‘I want everybody to be positive. I’m the only guy in the organization allowed to be negative.’ That’s the way I wanted it. If I’m the most negative guy in the city about the team, that’s pretty good.”