Commentary

Ear to the glass: Style points

A newbie, a vet and the league's current top 'tender share secrets of their playing style

Updated: November 20, 2009, 1:57 PM ET
By Lindsay Berra | ESPN The Magazine
Ryan MillerJim McIsaac/Getty ImagesRyan Miller leads the NHL in Ws and is second in save pct. and GAA. He'll tell you how below.

Stand up? Butterfly? Frantic scrambler? The task of stopping the puck is the same for all goaltenders, but their methods can vary wildly. We asked three NHL netminders -- American Ryan Miller, Canadian Chris Osgood and Czech youngster Ondrej Pavelec -- to tell us how they arrived at their particular technique. Then we asked past tender and NHL analyst Darren Pang to offer his take on the trio. Because in style, stature or stats, no two goalies are alike. Not in our words, and not in theirs.

Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres
Born: July 17, 1980, East Lansing, Michigan
2009-10 Stats: 1.97 GAA, .931 SP, 12-3-1 record

Miller's Sabres and their 12-5-1 record have taken the NHL by storm this season, in no small part because Miller has been one of the best goalies in the league. Miller, known for being on top of his crease in a perfect crouch with his hands and legs in exactly the right spot, is in the top two in the league in wins, goals-against average and save percentage. He's patient, fundamentally sound and big in his net, allowing hardly any daylight between his elbows and the side of his body for a puck to squeak through. "Ryan has tightened up his game so much," Pang says. "He's 165 pounds, but when he gets in the net, he looks like he's 220."


To read Miller's tale of finding his style and see similar stories from Chris Osgood and Ondrej Pavelec, you must be an ESPN Insider.

Lindsay Berra is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.