NOT NEWS: Ryan Miller’s a weird dude

NOT NEWS: Ryan Miller’s a weird dude

(WECK 1230) — He runs a jeans boutique, likes offbeat music and raises money for charity by making his friends dress up in clothes from bygone eras.

Why should anyone be surprised when Ryan Miller’s supposed outbursts are just as unique?

By now perhaps you’ve heard that Miller chastised Buffalo News reporter John Vogl and then argued with Jerry Sullivan. If you haven’t, you can listen to it courtesy of WECK’s Brad Riter HERE.

To recap, Miller snapped when Vogl asked him how he felt. Seriously. That’s what happened. It’s kinda dumb, and it will be a much bigger deal than it needs to be. Why? Mostly on account of Miller being an enigmatic interview. A brilliant reasoner, Miller is great on a good day and a horror show when he doesn’t feel like helping a reporter do his job… and this builds up in the media.

So when Miller refused to give Vogl a quote on the lede of every reporter’s story on Sunday afternoon’s contest — which was obviously, “How does the best player on your team throw a garbage tornado up when his team gives him six goals to play with?” — things got intense and went to places they shouldn’t have gone. Do you honestly think Miller or Sully would’ve dropped an F-bomb if he knew kids were around? There’s a throng of humanity around during an interview… sometimes you can’t see over tall people.

Here’s the thing: in the “interview,” Miller sounds unreasonably upset that Vogl won’t just directly ask, “Have you been playing too much lately?” or “How come you allowed so many goals, dude?”

Here’s another thing: Miller also got unreasonably upset when the media assumed he knew there was a 24-hours-old published report that the place he worked had a rich interested buyer and asked many direct questions.

Why? He’s a different sort of cat. He’s more patient than you’d expect sometimes and also plays the role of tomfoolerist when he doesn’t feel like answering questions. His personality carries an aire of “I’m better than this and you, too,” but he’ll also surprise you by asking about something you didn’t think he’d remember. He’s left-brained and weird, like a lot of goalies. He might be a world-class jerk, too, but it doesn’t really matter as long as he does his job well. Truth? Yep.

You don’t have to like it. Heck, I’d say most Buffalo people who don’t like Miller feel that way on account of the fact that you can’t imagine Miller joining you for a Coors Light at your local hole-in-the-wall. Additionally, there are people who do like him and probably feel that way because he’d order some ridiculous beverage only available in Papua New Guinea and then inform them about the differences in denim between the seven continents.

(By the way, before we get off the actual rant, Jerry Sullivan killed it as usual. By killed it, I don’t mean I entirely agree or disagree… it’s just compelling writing. He may not get the credit in his time at The Buffalo News because of his radio persona, but his columns are gems and have been for years. This may be partly biased because he’s one of the most genuine fellas I’ve ever met, but I digress).

Miller wants more direct questions, you know, like he’d get in Toronto or New York while getting torn apart by allowing seven goals in a game his team needs in a season he’s spent mired in “the funk,” as Cornel West calls it. So, here’s how you fix it: tomorrow, ask Miller, “Where’s your Vezina form?” and “Do you think your contract includes too much money considering you haven’t been all that good?”

Also, promise him you won’t forget that the entirety of last season’s successes can be credited, more or less, to how good he was. And thank him for the Olympic run, which was amazing.

I just think the world would be off if we were a little more direct with each other. For example: there’s this question about whether Drew Stafford is for real and has matured or if he’s just playing out a contract year. What if we went all crazy and admitted that the Occam’s Razor — you’re welcome Whitey — for all this is likely right? Yes, it’s an assumption, but try arguing with this idea: Five days after his 21st birthday, Drew Stafford was called up to the Sabres and it was as easy as it gets. He was crowned the new Chris Drury within weeks, getting by on his nutso talent and physical skill while finding out that one of his favorite metal bands wanted to be good friends with him. So he figured the NHL was going to come as easy as hockey always has to him. Then one day he realizes he has to work harder — probably because he’s four years older — and starts kicking butt.

Sweet. Let’s sign him up.

Or maybe Tyler Myers struggled to start this year because there was more pressure on him and he was playing his first regular games without the defense partner for his entire career, Henrik Tallinder. Or maybe Patrick Lalime was only signed because Miller liked him, Lalime knows it, and that’s why Jhonas Enroth was called up when Miller was slated to be out with more than a 24-hour-bug.

Sometimes, the easiest answer is the right answer. On my Friday afternoon drive to Rochester, I heard a radio host argue the Sabres were better without point-per-game forward Derek Roy. The host shouted down anyone who issued valid and easy reasons like, “These games are against bad teams,” “Drew Stafford is back and healthy” or “Thomas Vanek is playing the best hockey of his career.” (It was also not mentioned that they were 5-3-1 in Roy’s last nine games and already coming into form).

If you have to work super hard to back up your answer, the odds are it’s the wrong answer. Being a sports fan should be easy. The Sabres and Bills don’t always make it pleasant, but it can be easy. Try this: the Bills need a franchise quarterback. Don’t sweat whether Ryan Fitzpatrick is the answer or Cam Newton could be… do you think the Bills would be fixed if they had a franchise quarterback? Yes? Okay. Now onto the Sabres: if Ryan Miller finds his 2009-10 form, will they be a threat in the East? Yes. Is he a weird guy? Yes. Cool.

On with the show.

(I’m filling in for Brad this Monday from 4-8 p.m. Feel free to call. I’m pumped).


18 Responses to NOT NEWS: Ryan Miller’s a weird dude

  1. First off, calling Miller’s responses “rants” or “outbursts” is sheer hyperbole. He was pissed off and aggravated, but he did not respond with a diatribe, interrupt anyone, nor did he promulgate any type of ill-tempered non sequitur.

    The “offending” question WAS goofy, vague, and weaselly. If Vogl wanted to know if Miller was tired, then ask “Were you tired from playing so much.” If he thought that maybe Miller was distracted for some reason, the offer the hypothesis and ask if it has merit. Instead, Vogl came off as amateurish and juvenile. He sounds like he is on assignment for a high school newspaper at best.

    Mr. Mendola, Miller’s tastes in music, what he does to raise money, etc. are a complete red herring: Miller is a professional hockey player; I can fully understand why–after a loss such as that–he would be perturbed having to respond to such an inane, ambiguous question.

    • John, I’m not criticizing Miller. I’m just saying that he’s a different dude, and thus his personality isn’t predictable. The whole thing being an issue that will still be “important” when I start my show at 4 p.m. is juvenile. Maybe I’m misrepresenting my point, and if so, I’m sorry. Make sense?

  2. Well said, John. Bringing up Ryan Miller’s “weirdness” is just unnecessary, Nick. Anyone who spares a second of thought if someone they don’t know would drink with them, or whatever about their hobbies are the real weirdos, and complete losers as well.

    Vogl did ask a stupidly vague question and didn’t clarify it at all, one I’m sure Miller has heard hundreds of times this struggle of a season since starting out with his “lower body injuries”. It was after one of the worst games he’s played in his career where he cost his team a point. Unprofessional, yes, but understandable. Hardly an “outburst”, either.

    We know you’re biased towards all your local media buddies at WGR. You may need them to further your career in the future. You don’t have to remind us of this so much.

  3. i disagree. it all goes to character and context. ryan miller is a weirdo, hence he reacts to situations differently than norms. point well taken.

    i’ll take strife in an interview over canned garbage. give me this over “run and stop the run” or whatever other meaningless clichés athletes throw at reporters any day.

    and, really, since you brought it up, poorly said, john. stop tripping over your thesaurus.

  4. I’m not defending ANYONE at WGR… Vogl and Sully are at the Buffalo News. Vogl asked “how did you feel?” It was clearly a vague question that was open-ended because the line of questioning was clearly going to roll onto the “Why did you chew on a bag of garbage all night?” Clearly, Miller had a rough night and shared some venom, which is fine. I bring up him being “weird” to explain why he went off a little. I like him as my team’s goalie. I honestly wanted the piece to read as if I think this will be a way bigger story than it needs to be. Miller criticizing Sully for rephrasing Vogl’s question while John was clearly caught off-guard by Miller’s way-too-personal take on vaguery is fine, too.

  5. Alex,
    I’m not following how implying that I’m misusing a thesaurus speaks to any of the points that I make. FYI, I did not use a thesaurus to compose my response to the original post; I think that a word like ‘promulgate’ better conveys what I was trying to point out than something more prosaic like ‘say.’ If you have an English equivalent for ‘non sequitur’ in the context I’m using it then by all means pass it along. If you do not understand what I’m saying, then I guess I should rethink the audience . . .

    I actually agree with the one cogent point you made; that it’s more interesting to hear honest responses from our professional athletes than “Belichicks.” (I coined that term just for you!).


  6. I didn’t hear a weird person in the interview.

    I heard a goalie that was PO’d because he had a bad game.

    I’m guessing that Miller likes playing all the time and he’s tired of hearing that he’s getting tired because Ruff has to keep playing him because the back up goalie is his buddy and not a guy that can win games for the Sabres. He likely felt that Vogl was looking for Miller to say he was off because he’s tired and Miller wasn’t going there.

    But, I can relate as I’m a goalie and I’d be royally PO’d if I gave up 7 goals to lose 7-6 in OT.

  7. Nick, I think I get your point, and if I do, I agree with it: Miller had a bad game. A reporter asked him a question. Miller took his anger out on the reporter. No big deal. Happens a lot in sports, just usually not in Buffalo because Bruce Smith retired.

  8. Miller stands up for 5 years win or lose and gives the media what they want and now he has ONE human moment and is getting killed. He takes the majority of the weight of the Sabres’ losses and has to have a breaking point.

    I would never classify the guy as a jerk, he is just a weird dude. All accounts off the ice have him as a good guy, he is not amongst the players who are cruising Chippewa for recent college grads. He bought a house in the middle of Buffalo and believes in the city. Let him be human for once. Good for Sully he got a column out of the situation, one he was not anticipating.

  9. Think it may be fair to say that neither Miller nor Vogl were on their respective games on Sunday. IMO, if Miller’s got beef with the open-ended question, simply don’t answer it. However Vogl’s question is almost as equally goofy as the response he received….I mean “how do you feel”? You’re the beat writer with the Sabres all season, just watched the guy give up seven to a substandard team and that’s the best you could come up with? Substandard on both ends of that battle yesterday no matter how you slice it.

  10. Belichick is honest about things that matter. Some of his philosophical answers are very knowledgeable. Of course, he’s not going to be honest and say the Bills suck.

  11. I completely agree with you Steve and James. And Belichick probably wasn’t the best person to illustrate my point . . . although like many notable people forced on the podium, many of his responses are similarly cliché ridden and sometimes vacuous. I’m not saying it’s a bad policy; certainly don’t want to show too much passion and emotion unless you strive to be the latest 48 hour story in a drama-starved sports media world. Miller latest case in point.

  12. john,
    i’m not about to pull it out and have a measuring contest, but i’m confident that i have a better grasp on language in general than you or just about anyone you know. your application of some of the words you used was verbose for the sake of being verbose and often made your points make way less sense because you used a word that, while sort of intelligible, really missed the mark. less is sometimes more. one such case can be found above.

    as some wise men once rapped, “real gansta ass niggas don’t flex nuts, ’cause real gangsta ass niggas know they got ’em.” marinate on that.