Never one to mince words, Ryan Miller let it be known Tuesday how he felt about Paul Gaustad being traded to Nashville.
“I’m not going to lie, I’m not real happy about the way it all turned out,” Miller told the Buffalo News. “But that’s the business of hockey. Like I’ve said, we don’t make those decisions.
“That’s more proof because if I had any more influence Paul would still be here. I appreciate the way he plays. He’s been one of my best friends for a long time there.”
Miller and Gaustad broke in with the Sabres during the 2002-03 season — Miller appeared in 15 games, Gaustad one — and the pair have been teammates ever since. They’ve roomed together, traveled through Europe together and when Miller was bowled over by Milan Lucic earlier this season, it was Gaustad who said he was “embarrassed” by Buffalo’s lack of response…then fought Lucic the next time out.
In light of that, no real surprise Miller’s upset.
Slight surprise, though, that he voiced his displeasure so publicly.
“[Gaustad] does the things that are not easy to do every night,” he continued. “It’s just too important for a hockey team, and it is a little frustrating in that regard.
“Personally, he’s a close friend, and also I think he’s a big part of the team. No matter the way you view hockey, you have to understand how important players like Paul can be and how long it takes to develop a guy that plays that way at such a high level.
“Winning those faceoffs is not easy. Killing those penalties is not easy. Not a lot of guys are willing to do that job every night, and he was.”