Sabres lose goalie Miller for at least six weeks

Updated: November 3, 2005, 9:43 AM ET
Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Sabres rookie goalie Ryan Miller will miss at least six weeks after breaking his right thumb during Buffalo's morning skate on Wednesday.

Miller had been scheduled to start against Ottawa on Wednesday night, but he was forced to miss Buffalo's 10-4 loss. He said it was possible the injury could keep him out for closer to eight weeks.

"It was a simple little shot that he went to redirect into the corner,'' Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "It missed his blocker and smashed into his thumb.''

The injury is a big blow to the Sabres. Miller had emerged as the team's top goalie after a tight training camp competition with Martin Biron and Mika Noronen. Miller had started all but one of Buffalo's games, going 6-4-0 with a 2.77 goals-against average.

Biron made the emergency start in place of Miller on Wednesday but didn't last long, allowing three goals on the first six shots he faced. Biron was lifted after seven minutes in favor of Noronen, who dressed for the first time this season after being scratched for Buffalo's first 11 games.

Noronen allowed four goals on 17 shots before Biron came back in net to start the third period.

"It is what it is,'' Ruff said about his current goaltending situation. "The goal is to get them ready for Friday night. That's why Marty went back in there in the third.''

The Sabres will host Montreal on Friday.

Miller, Buffalo's fifth-round draft choice in 1999, lost his previous two starts. His six wins in October were one shy of Ed Belfour's NHL record for most by a rookie during the month. Belfour went 7-3-0 with Chicago in 1990.

Last year, Miller was named the best goalie in the American Hockey League after compiling 41 wins for the Rochester Americans.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press