Enroth Versus Miller and a Goalie Controversy

I am prepared to eat crow about Ryan Miller… a little bit at least. (That’s ok, I’ve heard it tastes like chicken.) In a previous post I ranted a bit about how great  he is and how quickly the Sabres goalie controversy would be over. Well, the next game our Millsie lets in 5 goals despite getting a win against Winnipeg.

To be completely honest, the post was going to be a “two sides of the story” and present the argument for Miller and then for Enroth. Well, I got lazy plus the post would’ve been too long if I’d done the Enroth part. But there’s a lot to be said for Enroth as well.

The biggest argument in an Enroth vs. Miller debate is that Enroth just wins, baby. Enroth was a stunning 9-2-2 last year. His save percentage was .907 with a goals against of 2.73 – nothing to sneeze at, but nothing stellar. (Ryan Miller’s 2nd worst GAA was a 2.73, in 2006-07.) This year young Jhonas is 4-0-0 with a save percentage of .952 and goals against of 1.41. Absolutely incredible even though it’s only four games.

Meanwhile our Vezina and silver medal-winning Miller is getting lit up and seems to be fighting it. He’s certainly not living up to his Defense Independent Goalie Rating.

But it’s not all his fault; the defense is hanging him out to dry. How many point blank chances did the Sabres give up against the Jets? No goalie can do it by himself.

The big question I have is why does the team seem to play tighter with Enroth in net? Is it simply because they feel they HAVE to, because they think Miller can bail them out if they get sloppy? Because Enroth is a “kid” that they have to be sharp around and protect more?

Miller’s got 5 wins to 5 losses and isn’t doing great statistically. His save percentage of .913 is 29th in the league. His GAA of 2.74 is 37th in the league. Of course you have to factor in goalies that have only played a couple game, but still. It’s bad.

Miller isn’t going to blow up because of the scrutiny on him and go off the rails. He’s been playing hockey his whole life and is having a bad stretch exacerbated by bad defense around him. Lindy Ruff will get things figured out settled down at some point.

But that doesn’t change the fact the RIGHT NOW, Enroth may be the better play. The arguments for him are you can get the kid some work, Miller is off his game, and the team just plays better around him. Maybe there’s something to Enroth’s personality that the team takes to better, I don’t know.  (But what would explain the team’s success over the last 7 years with Miller?). Plus apparently he looks like an ewok:

ewok 1 206x300 Enroth Versus Miller and a Goalie Controversybuffalosabresnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/ewok_1-705x1024.jpg 705w, buffalosabresnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/ewok_1.jpeg 1102w" sizes="(max-width: 206px) 100vw, 206px" />

I don't see the resemblence, but I'll leave it for the ladies to decide.

Goalie controversy? Sure. Miller can certainly regain his form, but the backup is always the most popular guy in town. The talk will continue until Enroth falters badly or Miller is insanely dominant. That might be a while.

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