They’re linked together by two of the most iconic sporting moments of the past 10 years, but Sidney Crosby and Ryan Miller have never discussed Canada’s 2010 Golden Goal or the shootout winner in the inaugural Winter Classic … even though the two men have become unlikely offseason training partners.
“It’s not something I’ve ever really talked about with him,” Crosby said ahead of Wednesday night’s meeting between the Penguins and Sabres in Buffalo. “I’ve skated with him for a couple of summers now. He’s a good guy, works hard. He loves to play and loves to compete. As far as the situations we’ve been in, it’s not a hot discussion topic, but everybody tries to link those situations together.”
Don’t expect the topics to arise if the two happen to bump into each other in the hallways of the First Niagara Center tonight, either.
“It’s in the past,” Crosby said. “We’re days away from the Olympics in Russia. Maybe after our careers, it’s something we talk about. There are other things we both want to accomplish.”
Miller, for one, is intensely focused on the moment, hoping to to make a strong impression on Dan Bylsma in Wednesday night’s game. The Pittsburgh coach, who will be behind the bench for Team USA in Sochi next week, has yet to choose his starting Olympic goaltender.
“Today is not the only body of work from Ryan,” Bylsma told reporters. “He’s played really well this year. He’s played really well in some different circumstances. He doesn’t have a lot of wins to go with how well he played, but with his save percentage and the saves he’s made, he’s played some of his best hockey.”
Odds are that both Miller and the Kings’ Jonathan Quick will see some time in the U.S. net during the preliminary round. But with a tough start to the schedule — the Americans play Slovakia on Feb. 13 and Russia on Feb. 15 — the goalie who opens the tournament is the favorite to become the go-to guy when the playoff round gets underway.
There’s also a good chance that this will be Miller’s last game for the Sabres, the team with which he’s spent his entire career. The pending free agent reportedly is being pursued by both the Wild and the Capitals, and could be dealt before the Olympic roster freeze, which begins on Friday at 3 p.m. ET.