Ryan Miller: Lockout to 'satisfy egos'

Updated: October 25, 2012, 10:36 PM ET
By Craig Custance | ESPN The Magazine

Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller has been patient in his pursuit of work outside of the NHL during the current lockout, but that patience is running out. He doesn't currently have any concrete plans to play in Europe or elsewhere, but that's changing.

"If a team needs a goalie, I need to start considering it," he wrote in an email to ESPN The Magazine.

On the eve of expected cancellations of more regular-season NHL games and on the day NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun that the NHL's latest proposal is being pulled off the table, the frustration is building for Miller.

Miller
Miller

In his lengthy email to ESPN The Magazine, he shared some of those frustrations.

"I think that a deal is there to be made and recent events lead me to believe the NHL is simply testing us," he wrote. "After they have satisfied their curiosity about the strength of our resolve we will have real negotiating for the first time in this whole debacle."

After progress was made last week, when both sides showed a willingness to move to a 50/50 split in revenue, talks stalled this week. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said it looked like hopes of an 82-game season were not a reality. And the league's biggest regular-season jewel, the Winter Classic, is dangerously close to the chopping block.

A shortened season is looking like the best-case scenario, and Miller believes it's because egos are getting in the way of deal-making.

"The two sides are close enough to a deal that missing the bulk of a season is wrong and missing an entire season is not only insane, it is a blatant disregard for the sport, the fans and the culture we have grown over decades -- just to satisfy egos, not the needs of either side," Miller wrote.

This week, the league announced that the Islanders will begin play at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, an arena that will help drive future revenues for the players and the league, beginning in 2015. There's also been speculation of league expansion, another revenue driver.

Miller pointed out the possibility of serious future revenue growth puts more money at stake when working out the next CBA.

"Consider that Canadian broadcasting rights are up for negotiations by 2014 and the Islanders will be in a new facility by 2015. Those are just two examples of things that are certain to put a lot more money into the league," he wrote. "I am sure we can sit down and come up with many more examples, and speculate on other things that Gary (Bettman) will never admit to until a CBA is drafted, like relocation or expansion. So when the owners want us to take less than our latest proposal you have to remember they are asking for all of this and holding hockey hostage knowing they have a lot of new revenue coming down the line and they have seen us move toward them in every category. The least they could do is honor our contracts and find a way to start the hockey season."

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