It was a night for the Maple Leafs to wish all the rumours had been true.
No, not the ones that encircle the Toronto hockey club on a 24/7 basis, or the goofy ones that have major trophy winners coming here for second- and third-round picks, but rather the ones that swirled around Buffalo Sabres netminder Ryan Miller for much of last season.
Last winter, it seemed almost a certainty, based on external speculation at least, that Miller would in a matter of course be an ex-Sabre. Anaheim, for a bunch of reasons, seemed a logical destination.
The genesis of this was equal parts Miller's perceived unhappiness — remember the infamous Milan Lucic incident after which exactly none of his teammates came to his defence? — and his relatively average performance.
Not since the 2010 Winter Olympics, suggested many, had Miller been anywhere the goalie his reputation suggested.
Well, no deal ever happened, and maybe it was all idle chatter. That was, of course, the very same Miller in Buffalo's net Monday night at the Air Canada Centre in the Leaf home opener, spoiling the fun for a home audience that got a ceremonial puck "drop" from astronaut Chris Hadfield and free blue-and-white scarves for all in attendance that more than a few suggested gave the ACC the appearance of a rather large bar mitzvah gathering.
Haberdashery aside, Miller's impressive 34-save performance produced a 2-1 Buffalo triumph. The Leafs won on the shot counter but not on the scoresheet, with Miller able to get a piece of equipment or a body part on the 11 volleys sent his way by Leaf offensive leaders Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel.
The Leafs have scored only three goals in two games, but they've only allowed three goals in two games, with rookie goalie Ben Scrivens in the nets.
So half-empty, half-full, and the team's at .500.
Maple Leafs must be wishing Ryan Miller wasn't still a Sabre
Toronto Star | Jan 22