Ryan Miller took his time Friday.

He lingered in the locker room after his first skate with his Buffalo Sabres teammates. He lounged against a wall for a long chat with reporters after giving a lengthy interview. Then, more than 90 minutes after leaving the ice, he reached the lobby of Northtown Center at Amherst and really soaked in the surroundings.

At least three dozen fans were waiting for the goaltender. He signed autographs for all of them, putting his name on the cards of kids and the shirts of women in wheelchairs.

It was the kind of effort that will be necessary if the NHL and its players hope to erase the pain of the lockout.

"Just try and get back to being good ambassadors to the game," Miller said. "We take the time to be a part of the community, and I think just going out and playing hard hockey is what people appreciate. If we can go out and do that across the league, I think we'll be all right."