Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports
The Vancouver Canucks and the agent for Ryan Miller gently disputed some of the details of a report that surfaced on Wednesday from TSN’s Farhan Lalji, which suggested that the Canucks’s starter was not going to return to action within his original four-to-six week recovery timeline, that he was several weeks away from even skating, and that the goaltender wouldn’t return before the NHL playoffs.
It would appear that while Miller has taken part in some on-ice workouts, he’s yet to skate with equipment, according to Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins. Also Miller’s agent Mike Liut contended in a conversation with News 1130 Sports that Miller isn’t behind schedule, he’s on schedule, and a four week recovery timeline was always an optimistic fallacy.
Read past the jump.
Let’s get into the nitty gritty a bit, and try to figure out what’s going on here.
Liut – Miller’s agent, who also represents former Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider, so we can assume he’s familiar with how crazy the Vancouver market can get about Canucks goaltenders – elaborated on Miller’s timeline during a conversation with News 1130 Sports on Thursday.
“He is not behind schedule, he is on schedule,” Liut insisted. “This injury is never 4 weeks for a goalie, it’s 6-8 weeks.”
Liut : “As I told you 2 weeks ago, goalies take longer to recover from this type of knee injury.” #Canucks
— News1130 Sports (@News1130Sports) March 19, 2015
Wednesday’s news was also a surprise to Canucks general manager Jim Benning:
Nux GM Jim Benning says via text: “I haven’t heard that Ryan (Miller) is going to be out longer than expected.” #canucks
— Elliott Pap (@ElliottPap) March 18, 2015
Meanwhile, Canucks head coach Desjardins suggested that Miller had in fact begun skating but avoided confirming that Miller’s recovery is behind schedule during his availability on Thursday.
“I think Ryan is on track from everything I’ve heard,” Desjardins said. “He has skated, but not with gear on.”
So what do we make of this cacophony of mixed messages? I think the key thing to remember is that Miller was originally reported to be likely to miss “a minimum” of four-to-six weeks. That was three-and-a-half weeks ago, and obviously Miller isn’t close.
So the four-to-six week timeline seems like it was overly optimistic, which is what Lalji’s report stated, although – we suppose – technically Miller may still be ‘on’ rather than ‘behind’ schedule because four-to-six weeks was always presented as an optimistic projection.
In the immediate wake of Miller’s knee injury the Canucks were very open about their intention of proceeding with extreme caution. From a Benning appearance on TSN 1040 in late February:
So he got the MRI done, it looks like he’s got a sprained knee and so the timetable for Ryan is going to be anywhere from 4-6 weeks. So we’ll just keep looking at it as we go through the process here.
We won’t bring him back, and he won’t be playing, until he’s 100 percent healthy. It looks like it’s going to be that long..
With the end of regular season rapidly approaching – it’s now only 23 days away – Miller isn’t close to returning. That much everyone seems to agree on.
Though details were quibbled with and semantics debated on this issue on Thursday, all that really matters is that the substantive part of Lalji’s report – that Miller won’t be back in the Canucks crease prior to the beginning of the NHL postseason – isn’t in any obvious dispute.