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MILLER SELECTED TO GOALIE EQUIPMENT GROUP

Tuesday, 04.29.2008 / 4:09 PM / Features
By Erin Pollina  - Sabres.com
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MILLER SELECTED TO GOALIE EQUIPMENT GROUP

Selected as a representative for the NHL / NHLPA’s latest workshop, Buffalo Sabres netminder Ryan Miller has one objective in mind:

Safety first.

Chosen as one of nine panelists for the Goalie Equipment Working Group - along with fellow goaltenders Martin Brodeur (New Jersey Devils) and Rick DiPietro (New York Islanders), forwards Dany Heatley (Ottawa Senators) and Mike Cammalleri (Los Angeles Kings) and NHL representatives Doug Risebrough (Minnesota Wild), Garth Snow (New York Islanders) and Brett Hull / Jim Rutherford (Dallas Stars) - Miller believes the league should err on the side of caution when it comes to keeping netminders protected.

”I feel like I’m a pretty analytical guy so I’ll listen to what everybody has to say and their opinions and hopefully they will listen to mine as well,” Miller said of the group set to meet on June 11 in Toronto.

”I just want to make sure the goalies are looked out for mainly because a lot of the talk is always, first-things-first, they want to trim everything down, make everything smaller. I just want to make sure that everything is done in a safe way.”

Miller found out first-hand the effects of not having proper equipment, quite literally, in the 2005-06 season after the league reduced the size of pads following the NHL lockout.

Attempting to stop a shot with his blocker in practice, the puck hit Miller’s hand resulting in a fractured thumb and 18 missed games (Nov. 2 - Dec. 8).

“I thought it could have been prevented if they had done more testing [on equipment],” Miller said. “If they want us to play 70 games a season as a starting goaltender that year, [we need to] have adequate protection to play night in and night out.

“This is an opportunity for me to give back to the game and something for me obviously to look out for the goaltenders.”

Miller is keeping the fans in mind as well, arguing that the formula calling for less equipment and more goals, and leading to more exciting hockey may not be entirely accurate.

“I think more chances is what I would argue is the best way to go,” Miller said. “Maintain a high level of refereeing and penalty standards to keep the ice open… Then the games will be exciting, it will come down to a goaltender’s skill and it will come down to a team playing a good system.”

But it is not just the forwards Miller refers to; goaltenders must abide by the rules as well. Citing oversized equipment as the main concern, Miller wants the league to also look at netminders who are “exploiting the situation” in an era of smaller pads.

“Obviously we’re all in competition with each other but we should all be equally protected and our style of play respected,” Miller said. “Everyone should be on a level playing field… no one should have an edge over anyone.”

How much progress will be made remains to be seen.

“We can only make a recommendation but hopefully working as a group, and there are a few forwards involved, we can get our point across,” he said.

The Goalie Equipment Working Group will “examine the configuration and dimensions of goaltender equipment with respect to safety and performance,” according to the NHL. “If the working group decides alterations to the rules governing goaltender equipment are warranted, and will not jeopardize the safety of the goalies, these recommendations will be forwarded to the Competition Committee for consideration.”

Miller is also a member of the NHLPA Competition Committee set to meet on June 13 in Toronto. According to the Players Association Web site, the group will “evaluate and make recommendations on matters relating to the game and the way the game is played."

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82