BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - In an email to Eyewitness Sports Anchor Shawn Stepner, Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller expressed some of his emotions as the NHL and NHLPA came to terms on a new ten-year collective bargaining agreement.
Miller was involved in the negotiations, on the NHLPA side, at times during the 113 day lockout.
--On Miller's feelings as the work stoppage comes to an end:
Miller: "Relieved that we are going to be able to salvage the season. Hard to be happy about the way we have gotten to this point, but as I get back to Buffalo I am sure the excitement and happiness will build."
--Stepner: You were very involved in the process along the way, sometimes outspoken, were the last four months worth it for the players?
Miller: "Yeah, I got a little fired up a few times but I saw the game I love being threatened and couldn't keep my mouth shut. Not sure it helped anything now that I look back on it.
I think that it was critical for the players to hold fast through this process. We did our best as a group to protect the most players possible. This was about not allowing the NHL to turn into a strict two tier salary league where superstars have all the money and 16-18 guys barely fit in under the remaining salary cap. That is not the best way to ensure extended careers for guys who can earn their 2nd, 3rd or 4th line position on the ice rather than by how low they are willing to go. Guys will be able to fit onto a team and still be able to use arbitration or free agency to get a raise and not be afraid they will price themselves off the team or out of the league. It will give organizations the ability to build a team in the image they want and keep that team together to make a run at a championship. It is a better situation than any of the leagues offers for the sport and for the players."
--Stepner: How quickly do you and your teammates expect to be ready to go... and what are your expectations for the season?
Miller: "I am hoping everyone is healthy and in shape. I feel ready to go. No time to worry about rust or finding chemistry, we have to play and win immediately. Maybe that mindset will help our team. No time to think. Just do. My expectations are the same as always. Put ourselves in a position to win a championship."
Training camps are expected to open within the next few days. A 48 or 50 game season will likely be played.