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Miller sticks with the plan

by Dan Rosen
Ryan Miller doesn't need a second look at the goal to confirm what he already knows.

Just as he did minutes after the silver medal was draped around his neck, Miller on Monday stood by his decision to come out of his crease and challenge Sidney Crosby before giving up the gold-medal winning goal at the Olympics.

Crosby beat Miller with a shot between his legs after getting a return pass from Jarome Iginla 7:40 into overtime to lift Canada to a 3-2 victory Feb. 28 in Vancouver.

"I did make a tactical error, but had he not caught the puck kind of behind him and made one motion to shoot, if he had taken a look, I had the advantage," said Miller, who added during an interview at NHL headquarters in New York that he only has seen scarce replays of the game. "I was not going to play a tournament of that caliber and sit back and wait.

"I think if he had not had it in his head that he was going to throw a puck on net, if he was going to make a move, then I was going to confront that move. That's how I played the whole tournament. That's how I have been trying to approach this whole season. I'd rather get scored on doing something like that than sitting on the goal line and waiting for something to happen."

Miller, whose star power grew bigger by the day in Vancouver, said the sting of losing never will go away. He knows how close the U.S. was to stunning the hockey world 30 years after a group of even younger and brasher American hockey players did exactly that.

Miller, however, can live with silver because he has no regrets.

When he saw Crosby get an inside step on Team USA defenseman Brian Rafalski and Iginla dish him the puck, Miller took a few steps out hoping to force Crosby to make a decision.

"I had a thought in mind," Miller said. "I was going to be aggressive with him and if he was going to get any closer I was going to take away his time and space. If he had taken a look maybe we go down the other end and we score."

Crosby said he never looked up to see where Miller was. He swears that he just got the puck and quickly released a shot as his momentum took him forward.

The puck found its way through Miller's legs.

"If I was sitting back, maybe I make the save," Miller said. "But if he takes a look and sees me sitting back, it's Sidney Crosby and he's going to do something and he's going to make a great shot. I don't even want to give him that opportunity. We were all pushing forward and we all should feel good about the fact that we did everything we could to win, and it just didn't work out for us. Can't change it."

But he can find the positives in what the U.S. team accomplished and what it means for hockey in the United States, the sport in general, and, of course, himself.

"Beating that Canadian team (in group play) and taking it to overtime in the gold-medal game, I think we did do something very positive," Miller said. "On the other side, it does kind of sting that we're not taking home the gold medal, but you have to put yourself out there to do great things and sometimes it doesn't quite work out. I am still going to wake up when I'm 60, 80 or 100 years old and wish we had won gold, but I'm going to keep things in perspective. It was positive and we had a great group of guys. That's what's important."

Miller has gained great notoriety as well. Heck, the guy was cheered in Pittsburgh last Tuesday.

"I'm going to go a long time before that happens again," Miller said. "It was a little surreal. Usually they want to tell you that you're not a very good player, but they use other language."

After backstopping the Sabres to a 2-1 overtime victory at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Miller spent Monday in Manhattan on a media tour.

He started early with an interview on NBC's "Today Show" with Matt Lauer and Ann Curry. He had separate interviews with Bloomberg News for television, radio and print. Miller made an appearance on VH-1's "Top 20 Countdown," visited the Sirius XM headquarters and had interviews with the Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair and Forbes Magazine.

He also stopped by NHL headquarters for a sit-down, on-camera interview, excerpts of which will be aired on "NHL On The Fly.".

"It's important for hockey," Miller said. "If people are interested in me, it's my job to be available."

He usually is, but the Olympics have opened a whole new world for him. For instance, Miller learned from some of his buddies that the Jonas Brothers and Alyssa Milano have been tweeting about him on their Twitter feeds.

"Beating that Canadian team (in group play) and taking it to overtime in the gold-medal game, I think we did do something very positive." -- Ryan Miller

"Apparently Twitter is the thing to be doing," Miller said with a smile. "The fact that I'm popping up in this different world is pretty cool for hockey and a little surreal for me."

The questions he's getting now range from on-ice stuff to who he's dating (same girl for the last year-plus), what he thinks about the NHL's possible participation in the 2014 Olympics, and what he thinks of the business side of hockey.

"They want to know more about me, my personality," he said. "I'm not overly shy, but I'm not looking for the spotlight. I don't promote myself. Where I have in the past is I started a foundation two years ago and I kind of accepted that I need to represent that, I need to put that out there and be available for that. This has become a lot different."

Miller is 28 years old and has been around for a few years now. He knows a thing or two, so he feels comfortable being in a position of influence.

"I'm very happy I'm at this stage of my career because I think I know a few things that I think can help the League and I can help the Sabres and I can help hockey," he said. "That's the approach I'm taking. People are interested. We have a great sport. That's what gets them excited and gets them involved and they want to watch and pay attention and play hockey. I think I have to do what I can."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl.

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