The Buffalo Sabres were eliminated from playoff contention in a lopsided 8-4 loss to the New York Rangers Friday, and starting goalie Ryan Miller once again the focal point of frustration.
He was pulled from the game after allowing four goals on 14 shots by the 1:13-mark of the second period.
The Rangers eventually went on to score five times in under three minutes combined between the the late stages of the first period and early in the second, causing considerable angst among the local fans.
The mood in the arena, complete with jeering directed toward Miller, was captured by John Vogl of the Buffalo News.
Miller, who’s been in the organization since 2002, had a moment reminiscent of Patrick Roy’s final game in Montreal just 28 seconds into the period. He stopped another dump-in and fired it toward the boards with authority. As the crowd again gave a Bronx cheer, Miller waved to the patrons as played continued – much like Roy did during a humiliating game in 1995 that featured him asking for a trade immediately after getting pulled.
Miller’s teammates had their chance to respond after the game.
“It’s very disrespectful after what he’s done for Buffalo, what he’s done for this team, this organization and this city,” Sabres defenseman Adam Pardy told the Buffalo News. “It [ticks] you off when you hear that. He’s been great all year. We’ve had wins when we’ve had no business winning games. The reason was Ryan Miller.
“To hear that is just absolute disrespect for what he’s done for this organization.”
This isn’t the first time the increasingly less patient faithful in Buffalo have showed their displeasure with their struggling hockey club.
Earlier this month, Steve Ott ripped Sabres fans for booing the team.
The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.
Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.
That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.
If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.
The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have claimed one of the more intriguing players placed on waivers — former Vancouver defenseman Frank Corrado.
Corrado, 22, was waived by the Canucks on Monday. The former OHL standout had appeared in 28 career games for Vancouver — including 10 last year — but was squeezed out of an NHL spot following the emergence of Ben Hutton, who surprised many onlookers by making the 23-man roster.
Canucks GM Jim Benning will receive criticism for losing an asset like Corrado for nothing. Several Vancouver pundits warned of exposing a young, promising d-man to waivers and those warnings ultimately proved accurate.
With Toronto, Corrado could push for playing time as the club indicated on Monday veteran d-man Sephane Robidas wouldn’t be with the team to start the year. That would leave the the Leafs with seven healthy blueliners: Dion Phaneuf, Jake Gardiner, Roman Polak, Morgan Rielly, Matt Hunwick, Martin Marincin and Scott Harrington, who can go to the minors without having to clear waivers.
Petter Granberg, another defenseman, is currently on IR.
In a corresponding move to the Corrado claim, the Leafs put forward Richard Panik on waivers. Panik, who Toronto plucked off waivers from Tampa Bay last year, appeared in 76 games for the Leafs, scoring 11 goals and 17 points.