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article imageRyan Miller calls for action against NHL crease-crashers

By Marcus Hondro     Dec 23, 2011 in Sports
Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, this season the NHL's version of a pinata, is looking for the NHL to do more to protect goalies in their crease. On Dec. 22, Miller held conference with reporters and talked about a solution - more penalties.
“The guys are trying to ride to the net without a plan,” Miller said after a game day skate in Toronto. “Two nights ago we saw (Evander) Kane driving through (Al) Montoya and last night Jimmy Howard got run over in Vancouver and they even scored a goal off the play. Guys are going at full speed and they really don’t have a plan once they arrive at the net. It’s like okay, I’m here, what do I do now?"
Miller was hit by Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic and a resultant concussion saw him miss 8 games. The hit came outside the crease but Lucic did not appear to make any effort to stop. He received only a minor penalty. Miller was unhappy about the lack of a suspension - calling Lucic "gutless" - and did not feel a penalty was enough. However, he's now calling for more minutes in the box in the expectation skaters would make more of an effort to avoid goalies.
Ryan Miller: From Lucic to Tootoo
Shortly after his return, in early December, Miller was run by Jordin Tootoo of the Nashville Predators; that hit was while Miller was in his crease and Tootoo got a 2 game suspension. At the time league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan said the suspension came because Tootoo made no effort to change his path.
"The fact remains that it is the attacking player's responsibility to make a better effort not to crash directly into the opposing goaltender," Shanahan said in his video release detailing his reasons for the suspension of Tootoo. "The goaltender must feel protected in his crease."
Shanahan and Miller: Goalie Must Feel Safe in Crease
That statement jives with what Miller feels, the disagreement seems to be in the fine details. For example, the goal scored by the Vancouver Canucks after Jannik Hansen seems to have been allowed because Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg shoved Hansen as he was going in. It's an excuse Ryan Miller doesn't buy. “A lot of guys argue they’ve been pushed,” he said. “These guys have the ability to stop on a dime, cut, turn and take a hit. Just a little bit more attention needs to be paid and the only way they’re going to pay attention is if more penalties are being called.”
Miller acknowledged it's "part of the game" but said players must know "what to do when you get the puck to the front of the net". He maintains that if players aren't made accountable there will be more goalies hurt and that given there's nothing goalies can do about it, the league must.
"It’s a little bit scary when you’re standing still and guys are coming at you at full speed," he said. "Usually two or three guys coming at you at full speed. There’s not much you can do to defend yourself. You just have to hold your ground and keep the puck out. You just have to watch for those situations where guys are burying their heads and just trying to blow through the net.”
More about Ryan miller, milan lucic hit on ryan miller, al montoya, jimmy howard hit by jannik hansen, brendan shanahan
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