The Buffalo Sabres west-coast road trip holds a special meeting for goaltender Ryan Miller
When Buffalo squares off with the Anaheim on Wednesday, Miller will see a very familiar face wearing the black sweater with the words "Ducks" stitched on the front, his little brother Drew's.
For the first time in their professional careers, the siblings will spar when last season's President's Trophy winners face the defending Stanley Cup champions. Drew, Anaheim's sixth-round selection (186th overall), made his NHL debut during the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals and has appeared in 19 games for Anaheim this season, registering two goals and four points.
"It's the first time ever besides the driveway, out in the street or in the basement that we'll play against each other," said Miller.
The old cliche, "familiarity breads contempt" will be proven wrong Wednesday night. The duo knows each other better than anyone else and have been looking forward to the match-up since the season schedule was announced over the summer.
"I don't know what the all-time series is at but it should be a lot of fun," said Miller. "[Drew] said for years, the second he gets in the NHL he's going run me."
The Miller family is no stranger to organized hockey. A total of 10 family members competed collegiately for Michigan State. Three of Ryan and Drew's cousins have spent time in the NHL. Cousin Kip even managed to score on Ryan while he was a member of the Washington Capitals.
Once the Sabres arrive, Ryan plans on getting reacquainted with his sibling.
|Anaheim's Drew Miller (photo: Getty Images) |
"I haven't seen him in a while and haven't seen him since he got engaged," said Ryan of Drew. "So I'll take him and his fiance out for dinner, congratulate them and have some family time. My family will be out there and it will be a lot of fun. It will be a unique experience, and seeing as we're in different conferences, we'll have some fun with it."
While the good-natured jousting between the pair of brothers is endearing, make no mistake, both want to win. They are professional hockey players by trade; paid to play a game they learned against each other as children.
The meeting is simply icing on the cake.
"That's part of the job," said Miller of wanting to hold his brother scoreless in the game. "It goes with the bragging rights. More so than anything, we both enjoy winning a lot, so it's going to be more about how competitive we are and about our team's winning."
The surging Sabres and their starting goaltender hope to continue their winning ways at the expense of the younger Miller.
After a poor outing against St. Louis last Wednesday that resulted in a 4-3 defeat, Buffalo rolled through the Carolina Hurricanes 8-1 on Saturday to win six of their last seven games.
The team is stationed in tenth place in the conference standings with 25 points and would love nothing more than to gain ground on a playoff berth.
"Obviously, we're looking for points [on the trip]," said Miller. "We don't see a lot of these teams- I might see a little more watching [Anaheim] on TV with my brother playing - but until you play a team you just don't know."
Miller may not know all about the opponent, but he certainly knows plenty about one of their left wingers.