-- Ryan Miller
spends most of his time facing shots. On Wednesday morning, though, the Buffalo Sabres' goaltender was the one was doing the shooting.
Besides being a top-notch goalie and the 2010 Vezina Trophy winner, Miller also is an avid photographer. So there he was, standing on the Sky Terrace of the Hudson Hotel in Manhattan, taking pictures of some of the game's brightest stars during a photo shoot for VanityFair.com.
"I really like taking pictures when I'm out and about … it's just something fun to reflect on," Miller told NHL.com. "My dad had a camera sitting in the closet and I just took it out on vacation. I got one good picture, and from there I was like, 'Wow, this is fun.' It just gave me an opportunity to step away and have something to do. I capture a moment and it's instant gratification. With the way digital cameras are now, you can look right now and see what kind of moment you've got."
The shoot began at 9 a.m., when Miller began taking photos of Montreal Canadiens forward Michael Cammalleri. Friends since they played against each other as college rivals at Michigan (Cammalleri) and Michigan State (Miller), Cammalleri jumped on the opportunity to help Miller when he was first approached about the project.
"I'm used to shooting on him, so this was different," Cammalleri told NHL.com. "We go way back. We played against each other at college. I've got a lot of respect for him. When he came out of college, I told him he was going to win a Vezina. He proved me right."
Also involved in the photo shoot were Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos, New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist and Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. Stamkos was impressed with Miller's photography skills.
"I thought it would be (awkward), but he made it pretty simple," said Stamkos, who scored 51 goals last season, his second in the NHL. "It was pretty funny that he's shooting me and he says, 'Usually, you're shooting on me.' It was fun, though. Obviously he's got a great talent for taking pictures. I was checking some of them out, and they look pretty cool."
Cammalleri and Stamkos admitted art isn't one of their hobbies. Still, they were happy to participate."Everything I do usually revolves around sports," Stamkos said. "Baseball and golf are my two other sports that I really enjoy doing and I try to play a lot of it in the summer. Playing in Tampa, I have the luxury of playing golf during the winter. Nothing as unique as this, though."
Added Cammalleri: "I'm not all that artsy. I like clothes, so I guess that ties in. But I can't draw or paint. Maybe hockey is my artistic side. (But) this was pretty cool. I got one of the best goaltenders in the world taking pictures of me on a rooftop in New York. It's a unique experience."
Miller's photo shoot was the beginning of the end to the 2010 Player Media Tour in New York, where some of the game's best got together for a few days of fun and meeting with the media. It's the unofficial kickoff to the season, and the players all got to see how they're all anxious for the new season to begin.
"This is a great thing … not only for the NHL, but for us as players, too," Stamkos said. "You see a couple of the guys and make some friendships off the ice. Once you get out there, there's no friends on the ice. So this is fun."
For Miller, it also was an opportunity to show that stopping pucks isn't the only thing he does well.
"A lot of what we do in hockey is so much process," Miller said. "(Photography) gave me something where I could just get away from the questions and that kind of pressure and do my own thing. I only have to make myself happy. I don't have to worry about a couple hundred thousand people in Buffalo or my teammates in the locker room or my family back home or League issues. It's just something I can control and do what I want. I'm not on somebody else's schedule."