NHL notebook: Miller trashes lockout
Sabres goalie: Stoppage was ‘waste of time’
Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller was back in town and rejoined his teammates, eagerly awaiting the start of the abbreviated season, and still upset over the four-month NHL lockout.
Miller, who played a role in labor talks, called the dispute “stupid” and “a useless waste of time.” He blamed owners, and singled out NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, for prolonging the lockout into January.
Miller spoke after completing his first on-ice session with Sabres players at a suburban arena yesterday. They are preparing for training camp to open on Sunday, and the season to begin a week later.
A seven-year pro, Miller is the face of the franchise. His arrival was welcomed by teammates and about 300 fans — the largest turnout this week — who lined the boards to watch the open practice.
This group of Sabres has been growing with each new day this week, as they get closer to training camp. On Thursday, defenseman Tyler Myers skated, saying he’s ready for the start of the season and fully recovered from a high ankle sprain he suffered early last month.
Myers, who won the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year in the 2009-10 season, is Buffalo’s top defenseman and entering the first year of a seven-year, $38.5 million contract extension he signed in September 2011.
Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom said he doesn’t have a concussion and is ready for the start of the season.
Backstrom fell awkwardly into the boards on Dec. 26 while playing for the Continental Hockey League’s Moscow Dynamo, and given that he missed 40 games last season because of a concussion, there was concern he might have another head injury.
After a visit this week to neurologist Jeffrey Kutcher, director of the NeuroSport program in Ann Arbor, Mich., it was determined that he had not suffered a concussion, but only a neck injury.
• Former Anaheim Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer, a four-time Stanley Cup-champion defenseman, is returning to the team as an assistant to coach Bruce Boudreau. Niedermayer retired in 2010 at age 36 to spend more time with his family.