Saturday, 23 March 2013

Escape from (Buffalo) New York

Ryan Miller’s recent upbraiding of Patrick Kaleta is only the latest installment of his ongoing disparagement of teammates unfortunate enough to wear blue and gold this season. Based on these actions and his irate dejection following losses this season, it seems that Ryan Miller is desperate to get traded out of Buffalo. I could spend this blog criticizing Miller for being a poor teammate, but it would probably be more helpful I instead tried to facilitate the inevitable separation between the star goalie and his team. Here are three things Miller could do to guarantee himself a ticket out of Buffalo.

1. Hit the franchise where it hurts: One way to force a trade would be to make the costs of keeping a player too expensive. While Buffalo isn’t feeling a cap crunch right now, there are other ways that Miller could make himself an unbearable financial burden. He might consider selling groupons (redeemable for each remaining home game this season) that are phrased in such a way that will incur exorbitant losses for the Sabres. To make it obvious that he’s the one behind this economic espionage, #30 could design the groupons as deals in honour of himself: for instance, he could declare every remaining game a  “Rye and Miller” night in which patrons will get unlimited boilermakers comprising Miller High Life and Jim Beam.

2. Prank the team mercilessly: With access to most of the team’s facilities, it’d be easy for Miller to put Buffalo-wing sauce in his teammates gloves or send Dominic Hasek memorabilia and the team's mascot Sabretooth cascading over Niagara Falls. These options, however, don’t make it clear that Miller is the culprit. In order to give himself away without allowing himself to be caught, the disgruntled goaltender must leave clues connecting him to the pranks. Miller might, for instance, draw inspiration from his surname and suggest that a flood of biblical proportions is imminent and that the team should prepare by building an ark.  With some teammates missing both practices and games to build a vessel big enough to carry two men of each position, Miller can mar the performance of the rest by sneaking up and searing them with a red-hot poker. When Darcy Regier googles the incidents looking for clues, he’ll probably figure out that his starting netminder is to blame when he keeps getting hits for Chaucer’s “The Miller’s Tale.”

3. Pretend to be insane and drive the rest of the team crazy: If the first two suggestions seem too extreme and criminal, Miller pursue a legal but nonetheless annoying recourse. He could convince his teammates that he’s a deranged fan boy by calling the crease “Miller-dor” and then chastising Christian Ehrhoff et al. whenever they allow someone simply to walk into “Miller-dor.” Furthermore, he could insist upon referring to First Niagara Center as “One Rink to Rule Them All” and address backup goalie Jhonas Enroth as Elrond. He could also use this tactic to boost his own legend. After all, no one on his team would mind if he quoted Fellowship of the Ring when pulling off a save like this:

"You shall not pass!!!"

Following any of these suggestions would definitely make Miller the focal point of the 2013 NHL Trade Deadline, but he'd probably have to give up his goalie pads for a padded cell shortly thereafter.

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