It’s hard being a goalie at any level of hockey, especially in the NHL. In fact, during the Original Six era when goalies were barefaced and their equipment rudimentary, people routinely called it the toughest job in sports. The gear is immeasurably better today — obviously, because some of it is too big — but goaltenders still have it tough and are increasingly subject to injury. Their plight is being made all the more difficult by the incessant crease crashing that is now a common practice in the NHL.
“I ran into (former NHL referee) Bill McCreary the other day,” Sabres goalie Ryan Miller remarked Thursday morning before Buffalo’s game in Toronto (video), and he just said if (the crease) was an alligator pit, they’d stop (before they enter it). But it’s not; it’s where you go to score goals…These guys have the ability to stop on a dime, turn, cut, take a hit. Just a little more attention has to be paid and the only way to (make them) pay attention is if you penalize them.”
Miller certainly recognizes the whole issue. “It’s hard to score goals when teams are locking things down and guys are going to go all the way to bring pucks to the net,” he said. “It’s part of the game on one hand. But another part of the game is knowing what to do with the puck when you get to the front of the net.” And Miller thinks too many players are arriving at his and other goalies’ doorsteps without any plans whatsoever.
“I think guys are just trying to cause havoc and it’s a situation we’ll have to pay some attention to as a group with the NHLPA and the league and see what’s going on.” Miller is a member of the NHL-NHLPA Competition Committee that helps set the league’s rules.