Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sabres Double Standards

I talk about this a lot, being a Thomas Vanek fan and rooting for a guy who often draws more ire than he deserves, but I think it bears mentioning pretty often.  Fans tend to get a bit of a mob mentality when it comes to players.  Once a guy earns the title of "scapegoat," it's almost impossible for them to shed it unless they take on the world and win.  And if they guy tends to be highly paid, he might never shed it.

Certain players on the team often wear this target, Tim Connolly, Thomas Vanek, Drew Stafford, and Jochen Hecht are probably the most often to don the SG.  Ryan Miller, Tyler Myers, Tyler Ennis, and Mike Weber almost never wear it.  If it was Hecht or Connolly throwing that pass out in front of the net, everyone would still be pissed at them, but we've all forgotten that Mike Weber did it.  Conversely, Ryan Miller puts his face virtually everywhere he can in the national hockey media and dates a celebrity and no one seems to care, but when it comes to Drew Stafford's band or Thomas Vanek's young kids (or Roy's and Connolly's supposed Chippewa antics), suddenly their personal lives are liabilities to their games.

I like that Ryan Miller is a strong face in American hockey, but man his performance on the ice this year makes him a lot less likable.  I understand that players have personal lives, and I stuck up for Drew Stafford and his band, but it's tough to see Miller put on a goofy hat and ham it up for ESPN and then come in and make you wonder if he let Patrick Lalime borrow his jersey.  Or be forced to wonder if that engagement ring wasn't weighing that glove hand down on Jason Garrison's (who?) goal.  I say these things with a lack of seriousness as I've always thought that Miller is one of the most well prepared players in hockey (and said this several times), but the frustration is genuine.

Maybe it's just that I'm not a goalie person, maybe it's time spent standing up for Vanek while Miller walks around under a halo that he doesn't deserve.  I admit to some bias here, and I've never really liked Miller beyond simply liking him because he's a Sabre.  Just...come on Miller, last year you convinced us you were a superstar.  Now play like one.

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