BUFFALO – In all those years Tyler Ennis practiced against goalie Ryan Miller, the slick Sabres winger estimates he scored on the former Vezina Trophy winner, oh, about zero times.
“My best memory of Ryan is probably the fact that I don’t think I scored on him ever in the four years I was at practice,” Ennis said this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center. “He’s an incredible goalie. Hopefully, I’ll have my best memory tomorrow if I can get one on him.”
Saturday afternoon’s tilt against the Vancouver Canucks promises to be a special with Miller, 35, scheduled to make his first appearance here since the Sabres traded him on Feb. 28, 2014.
As the Sabres left the ice this afternoon some former teammates – only eight are left – chatted with Miller outside the dressing room.
Their memories of Miller, the face of the franchise for almost 10 seasons, are special.
“He’s such a pro,” Ennis said. “I remember him coming to the rink every day working hard, especially in practice. He spent a lot of time on the ice. He was usually one of the last guys off the ice. He competed on every puck. He got upset even when you put a puck in on the rebound when another guy was coming down and shooting it. So he didn’t want any pucks in the net.”
Sabres defenseman Mike Weber said while Miller never wore the ‘C,’ he was essentially their captain.
“We had a lot of captains through the years here, but I think he was probably the most consistent captain,” he said. “He was extremely vocal in the locker room and committed in the community. Just a guy that as a young player you looked up to and wanted to fill his shoes as you get older.”
Weber remembers Miller taking him under his wing as a youngster.
“The way he sees the game is probably unlike a lot of players in this league,” he said. “He’s a real thinking mind. Just the way he sees certain things break down … the way he can talk to you, help you out out there was pretty huge as a defenseman.”
Check back later for full story on Miller’s return.
In other news, Sabres defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo (upper body) will be scratched for the second straight game Saturday. Sabres coach Dan Bylsma wouldn’t reveal his starting goalie.