I could wait on this, but I won't. Better writers than I with less acute emotional nonsense will tackle this, perhaps even here, and they'll do so with appropriate timing, eulogizing the player's departure when it becomes reality as opposed to jumping the gun with a preemptive shot of woe.
Yes, I'm woeful at the idea of losing this player. When it happens, I'll probably (definitely) cry. I'll put on my circa 2010 Miller jersey and silently laud the memories he gave us while cursing the franchise that wasted his immense talent; a franchise that chose eyes-slammed-shut-there-will-be-better-days hope followed by incredible mediocrity followed by riding Vezina coattails followed by, we're told, suffering. Though it was all suffering, after all... watching a team achieve so very little while being led by one of the absolute best in the game.
Maybe watching Miller play with a better team will confirm what we've always known but what has been clouded by a squad so verifiably shit: that the dude has massive, bona fide chops. That all the talk of Henrik or Marty or Roberto or Quick was fine and all, but this player we had at our disposal was legit. Maybe watching him these next couple weeks will give us that confirmation. Fitting, then, that our goodbye starts in earnest while the rest of this nation of hockey fans can cheer with us. We're going to have to get used to other people cheering for him, and at least we get to give it one more shot.
I gave so few shits when Pominville left, perhaps a few more, but barely, when Vanek left. I was sad about Briere and Drury, but I was also incredibly stupid and thought that the team's magic remained fit to be sowed. So, then, now? Left anticipating the likely departure of a player who stood taller for me than each of those guys is a feeling of hardened love for a team that is little else than a complete fucking waste, making it so very difficult to resign myself to watching Miller skate for another club and another fan base.
We're fans, nothing more. Our money doesn't buy us anything except an open door and a seat, even if we wish to think we must be given more. We deserved no better than we got these last eight years.
But Ryan Miller definitely did.
And maybe that's all that's left when a player so good and so utterly hung out to dry is on the verge of leaving your club ... a community of shared disappointment and regret, desperately wishing that Miller might stay and, more importantly, that the Sabres would finally make it worth his while.