Miller's one in a million shot!
Steve Russell, Staff Photographer
Sometimes you struggle for something to blog about and sometimes it just hits you!
Last night while covering the Toronto Maple Leafs loss to the Buffalo Sabres I got hit.
Not with an idea, but the puck!
Almost seven minutes into the third period Sabres Goaltender Ryan Miller cleared the puck into the corner and managed the perfect shot, through my shooting hole and into my face.
That one-inch-thick, three-inch-diametre and six ounce disc hit me in the right cheek. Any higher it would have hit my eye, lower my mouth, any harder, well, I would have been really messed up.
As the play approached I had just dropped my camera with a 300 f/2.8 into my lap and was bringing my other camera with a 70-200 zoomer up to my eye. I saw the puck coming and tried, unsuccessfully, to get out of the way.
I was at the Zamboni doors where EMS hangs out and was checked out right away, Ryan Miller held the game up a little to make sure I was alright.
An ice pack and I was back to shooting to close out the period. Taking advantage of each stoppage in play to ice my cheek and try to edit on the fly.
Leafs' photographer Graig Abel managed to get the puck for me, something I never got when I had been hit by baseballs twice in my dozen years covering the Jays.
At the end of the game, Ryan Miller skated over and passed the stick through the open Zamboni door to me, a nice gesture.
What moved me more was the fact that as the final horn sounded he immediately skated over to hand me the stick, before his teammates could congratulate him on his shut-out win. Knowing that with a shut-out in the works that he was thinking about me really shows us the caliber of his character. The stick is a nice souvenir, but Miller skating over before accepting congratulations from his teammates is what I'll remember every time I look at it after the shiner fades. He almost made being hit in the face with a puck worth it. He has also made it hard for me to root against him when he suits up for the American Olympic Hockey Team in Vancouver.
My face, a day after, a little less swollen, a little more bruised.
Sportsnet Video with Joe Bowen joking about me made it to youtube,
My next assignment, The Buffalo Bills versus the New York Jets on Thursday, cross your fingers for me.