ANAHEIM – It long seemed possible, if not probable. And it became eventual.
Ryan Miller is finally a member of the Ducks and that made reality a match as to a potential destination for the one-time Vezina Trophy-winning goalie ever since his days as the man in Buffalo came to an end.
Sure, there was a three-season pit stop in Vancouver. But the desire to play in Southern California and make it a full-time home with his wife, actress Noureen DeWulf, and their young son is something they’ve kept in mind, regardless of whether it would actually happen.
“There’s that connection because of where I’ve been making my home, for sure,” Miller said Saturday. “But the NHL, it’s a tough league. You can’t exactly pick your moments. This is something that obviously family-wise I hoped for, but we weren’t trying to count on it.
“We always had in our head that it would be a nice opportunity.”
Since signing a two-year deal with the Ducks as a free agent, Miller has been getting more familiar with a team he knows. Training camp offers the chance to bond with past opponents such as Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf that he’s known for a long time. It allows him to get to know youngsters such as Nick Ritchie.
Mostly, the 37-year-old Miller is about fitting in and doing the things that have made him an accomplished and decorated netminder with 358 wins and 39 shutouts on his resume. He’ll have to adapt to being the backup to John Gibson after a dozen years as a clear No. 1 starter.
And he will play when Ducks coach Randy Carlyle decides it is time. There hasn’t been any discussion on how much Miller will play and it’s a topic he doesn’t see “going to be on anybody’s mind for a little while yet.”
“I’ve never, ever had demands on a coach,” Miller said. “I think people get this idea that if you’re a veteran, you’re kind of dictating what you expect. I’ve always waited for the coach to have an opinion honestly.
“That’s really how hockey kind of works you can’t really put ideas into the mix as much as people think.”
The Ducks see Miller as an upgrade over Jonathan Bernier, who gave them quality work at times last season before fading. Gibson doesn’t see him as a threat to him No. 1 standing.
“Any time you sign a good player, it’s good for the team,” Gibson said. “I think he’ll help the team. You need depth no matter what position you’re at.”
At times, Gibson has been seen as the next great American-born…