NHL: Why the Hit on Buffalo Sabres' Ryan Miller Is Blown out of Proportion

Matt HunterCorrespondent IDecember 4, 2011

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 03: Goalie Ryan Miller #30 of the Buffalo Sabres punches Jordin Tootoo #22 of the Nashville Predators at the Bridgestone Arena on December 3, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Last night hockey fans witnessed Buffalo Sabres' goalie Ryan Miller get run over by Nashville Predators' forward Jordin Tootoo in the second period.

Now the initial reaction was that Tootoo ran through Miller on purpose, and made no attempt to get out of the way.

I don't buy it. I think Tootoo took the only route that would not put himself in harms way.

The play began with Tootoo cutting hard to the net with the puck, prior to getting the puck to his forehand for a shot, Christian Ehrhoff poked the puck off of his stick—which was a clean play—but kept his stick and hand around the waist of Tootoo.

 With Ehrhoff's stick positioned where it was, it only gave Tootoo two choices.

1. Keep on the path he was going, and crash into the side of the net/post, risking injuring to himself.

2. Attempt to make a sharp jump/cut, and potentially slip past Ryan Miller, or run into him.

People are going to say that Tootoo could have gone around the net, or he could have missed Miller entirely. Those arguments are both untrue.

Again, cutting left he goes into the post/net. He also could not go wide right because of the positioning of Ehrhoff's stick and the momentum that Ehrhoff had going into the corner.

Put yourself in Tootoo's skates. You have two choices, go into the post and possibly get hurt, or attempt to miss the goaltender. If you do hit the goaltender, won't be as bad for you as the net.

Tootoo was looking out for himself and I do not blame him for choosing the path that he did.

A lot of players would have done the same thing. Some would have missed Miller and some would have ran right over him.

I will give the Sabres' players credit however, they finally stuck up for Ryan Miller, and did not give Tootoo the same soft treatment as Milan Lucic got after he ran over Miller.

Where I do not give credit is to the announcers of the game, ESPN and hockey fans for blowing the play completely out of proportion.

Yes it was a big hit, but Tootoo was doing what players are told to do—go to the net hard. Tootoo was also impeded from making a hockey move to get away from the contact.

The reason why there was such a story and uprising over the play is because Ryan Miller was just coming back from an injury sustained from another run-in with a forward.

If this had been the first time, I think Tootoo only gets two minutes for goalie interference.

Will Tootoo get fined? More than likely. Will he be suspended? He probably will get a couple of games.

Should he get fined or suspended? I would give him a fine, but a suspension is not warranted for this play.