Ryan Miller

Patrick Kane says Buffalo fans get on Ryan Miller too much


With the Sabres set to face the Blackhawks tomorrow, Buffalo News scribe Mike Harrington caught up with Chicago center (and Buffalo native) Patrick Kane.

A huge Sabres fan growing up — he attended about 20 games a year with his dad — Kane spoke with Harrington about the club’s recent struggles and criticisms of starting netminder Ryan Miller.

“I still think the fans get on Miller a little bit too much back in Buffalo. He’s definitely the guy there,” Kane said of his US Olympic teammate. “He’s not having the kind of season he wanted to and maybe things are getting caught up in everything back there.

“I think they can be a good team. They’ve got everything in place to do well. ”

Kane’s supportive comments come on the heels of Miller’s emotional response to a 5-0 loss in Detroit (Miller was on the hook for all five goals.) He called the performance “embarrassing” before launching into a tirade about swirling trade talks, questioning his team’s heart:

“There’s no chance anybody comes into this team and just shakes it up or we can even move multiple players and get any kind of return … If you want to just destroy a team and just go out and be reckless and do something, yeah.

“But then there’s going to be new guys in here, but other than that, this locker room’s going to be pretty much the same, if not completely the same, and we’ve got to find it from in here. [Points to chest]

We can’t sit and wait for somebody else to [expletive] do it.”

Any talk of Buffalo’s “heart” leads back to the events of Nov. 12, 2011, when Boston forward Milan Lucic ran over Miller with zero response from the Sabres. Some will argue the incident didn’t have much significance, but the numbers suggest otherwise.

Heading into the Bruins game, the Sabres were 10-5-0.

Since the Bruins game, the Sabres are 9-16-5.

Kane said he was cognizant of Buffalo’s struggles, but couldn’t be overly concerned about them.

“I know the owner [Terry Pegula] and the fans aren’t really too happy with the way things have been going down there,” he said. “That’s fine with me. I can’t really care any more about the Sabres.

“Hopefully we can make it even worse for them and get a win against them.”

Stars to scratch Nichushkin after rough outing versus Avs?

Craig Anderson
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Looks as though slumping Dallas winger Valeri Nichushkin could be a healthy scratch tonight when the Stars host the Oilers at American Airlines.

Per the Morning-News, Nichushkin — who barely played in the second and third periods of Saturday’s 6-3 loss to Colorado — is likely to be replaced by Colton Sceviour in the lineup.

Stars head coach Lindy Ruff was fuming after the Avs defeat, calling it “embarrassing, worse than disappointing.” It didn’t take a genius to realize one of the players in his doghouse was Nichushkin, who had just 2:02 of ice time in the second period and 3:24 in the third.

Yesterday, Ruff dropped Nichushkin to the fourth line in practice.

“I’ve been trying to help him by shifting him around,” the head coach explained. “He had some struggles early in camp on right wing, so I put him on left, and he doesn’t seem real comfortable at left right now.

“His game, everything has got to get a little bit quicker.”

The 10th overall pick in 2013, Nichushkin has struggled to build on the form shown in his rookie campaign, when he scored 14 goals and 34 points in 79 contests.

He missed nearly all of last season with a linger hip ailment and has been a virtual non-factor through the first two games this year.

Report: Teams ‘screaming bloody murder’ about Richards settlement

Mike Richards

When the Los Angeles Kings announced they’d settled with Mike Richards, it didn’t take long for the accusations of salary-cap circumvention to materialize.

And though NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was adamant that the settlement was “far from” circumvention, apparently not everyone agrees with the league in that regard.

“Privately, other teams are screaming bloody murder and are threatening to make an issue about it at December’s Board of Governors’ meeting,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports.

Friedman goes into more detail in his story, so click the link to read more.

But remember how we wrote that the issue in this case was precedent, and that the “NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door”?

Well, one agent posed a good question to Friedman: “What’s to stop other teams from trying this?”