MYERS MIGHT NEED A BAILOUT
United States President Barack Obama's administration isn't going to come to Tyler Myers' rescue, but the kid better have his checkbook ready at the end of the season.
Not long ago, Buffalo captain Craig Rivet realized he was constantly getting asked about Myers' by the local and national media, so he instituted a $5 fine to Myers for every time he fielded another question about the burgeoning young defenseman.
Myers isn't sure what the debt is today, but he knows he'll have to pay up.
"I'm not exactly sure, but he's saying it's getting up there pretty good," Myers told NHL.com. "He came up with that after he started to notice he was getting a lot of questions about me. So he started putting a fine on me after it happens."
Considering the reason for the fines, Myers is flattered. It'll be money well spent.
"Yeah, in a way I guess it's alright," he joked.
-- Dan Rosen
The politically correct answer is no, Buffalo Sabres rookie defenseman and birthday boy Tyler Myers
does not think about the Calder Trophy.
The correct answer, of course, is yes, Myers, who turns 20 Monday, indeed wonders what winning the trophy would be like.
Myers, almost laughing while answering the predictable Calder Trophy question during a phone interview with NHL.com the other day, chose the P.C. route.
"I mean, I do try not to think about it, but there is so much talk and you hear a lot of people and you hear your name and it's really exciting," Myers told NHL.com. "But at the same time, I'm trying to focus on what I have to do with the Sabres. I'm sure I'll take some time after the year and ponder it a little it more."
But really Tyler, you do think about it, right?
"It's definitely exciting," he answered.
And here we thought we could get a 19-year-old (he was still that age when we talked to him) to bend. He's a stonewall, folks, but that doesn't mean the rest of the hockey community can't stump for Myers by at least going through his Calder credentials.
Myers leads the Sabres and all rookies in ice time at 23:27 per game. His 31 points are third among rookies and 13th among all defenseman in the League. His 24 assists are the most among all rookies, so that means more than fellow candidates John Tavares and Matt Duchene.
And did we mention he's a plus-8 on a first-place team?
Yup, he is.
"When you look at the way he's played, he's earned every minute," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said.
Ruff, though, wasn't about to get ga-ga over a rookie, even one as important as Myers is to the Sabres.
"I don't want to get too excited," he added. "Now he's got to get through the heavy grind of the second half of the NHL season with a lot of travel. It's just another test for a young man that's in his first year."
VACATION COMING SOON
Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff talks about seeing how rookie defenseman Tyler Myers handles the grind of a grueling NHL season and playoffs.
As Myers sees it, there're seven more games until the grind comes to a halt. He's lucky in that way.
"I guess you could say it is a little bit of a vacation," Myers told NHL.com.
Myers knows the grind will pick up furiously once the NHL returns from the Olympic break on March 1, but the Sabres have more than two weeks between games (Feb. 13-March 2) and that's when this 20-year-old rookie plans to re-charge his batteries.
"I'm certainly happy that we have a break here, but I hear in years where you don't have the Olympics the games aren't as tight and it's less of a grind in the fact that the games aren't so close together," Myers said. "It has its advantages and disadvantages, but I'm happy we get it.
"There are only seven games left until the break and we just went through a long road trip, but you just battle for seven more games and you get a nice break to regroup and get your mindset back and your body to get better."
So far, he's passing.
"At the start of the year, I never expected to be in the position I am now, but as the year has gone on I have felt more and more comfortable and less surprised with the way I'm playing," Myers said. "I think it's just that I'm figuring out that I'm able to not only play but contribute and produce at this level."
"Earlier on I probably was surprised," Sabres goalie Ryan Miller
told the Vancouver Province. "Not anymore I'm not. A few years down the line, I think teams will be awfully scared of him. Already he gets lots of minutes, he's hard to get around, he's good on coverage. When he fills into his frame he's going to be scary."
Myers, the League's second tallest player behind Boston's Zdeno Chara, is eager to fill out his 6-foot-8 frame, too. He is playing at 221 pounds now and he hasn't gained or lost weight throughout the season. He said he wants to know what it's like to play in this League at 230 or 235.
"I'll see where 230 or 235 takes me and if I need to go up I'll work hard to go up," Myers said. "If I need to come down it won't be too hard."
He'd like to hit 230 at some point during the summer.
"With my body type I have a little trouble putting on a lot of weight on a short amount of time," Myers admitted. "This summer will be a big summer for me. I need to make sure I eat a lot, get a lot of calories and work out pretty hard. I don't think close to 230 is unreasonable, but we'll see."
Myers, though, isn't struggling because he's 10-15 pounds lighter than he'd like to be. For one, his reach is obviously longer than everybody else, save for Chara, so it's still quite difficult to get around him. And, he said he's learned the virtues of the containment game.
Instead of engaging all the time like he did in junior, Myers is trying to play positionally sound defense by using his angles and his reach to his advantage.
"I have really found out this year that I may have to contain sometimes more than I would in junior just because these guys have the strength and power in the offensive zone," Myers said. "I have had to adjust my game a little bit, but as the pounds come and as I get stronger I'll be able to engage a little more."
Then he might have to avoid talking about the Norris Trophy instead.