Ryan Miller has always been a popular goalie in the NHL, but since his trade to St. Louis on Feb. 28, he's been interviewed more times than he would probably like to count. On off days, he's busy trying to get settled into a new city while conducting interviews with ESPN, NBC and Sports Illustrated, just to name a few.
So what's one more interview?
We sat down with Miller after practice on Friday to discuss his musical talent, his new mask, a friendship with Charlie Sheen, his amazing charity foundation and more.
STLOUISBLUES.COM: Is it true that you started playing hockey as a forward, and your father, who was your coach, put you in as a goalie because your goalie wasn't playing well?
MILLER: It was more like I just wanted to try it. I convinced my dad to let me try by telling him I wouldn’t play anymore unless I played goalie. This was back in mites, so it wasn’t too serious. He said go score three goals and get two more assists, and then you can try. It was early in the game, so I went out and did it. It backfired on him. (Being a goalie) was something I always wanted to do.
BLUES: We've been told that you've created playlists for Sirius XM Radio. What kind of music do you like?
MILLER: All kinds of stuff. Right now, it’s Kings of Leon and the Black Keys. I like alternative guitar (music) and guitar-driven bands.
BLUES: Speaking of bands, Derek Roy told us last summer that he played in one with you when you both played for the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League. Now that you guys are reunited, any chance of getting the band back together?
MILLER: We’ll have to bring it out on special occasions.
BLUES: Did you sing or play an instrument?
MILLER: I’m a terrible singer. I played guitar. I’ve been playing since I was 16 or 17. I can fake a lot of stuff. I can’t really whale on a guitar too much. I just kind of play chords of songs, just sit on the couch and pick up a song and play it.
BLUES: Your cousin Kevin played for the Blues in the early 90’s and you’ve said you grew up a fan of Curtis Joseph. Which one was your favorite Blue?
MILLER: I’ve got to take family before Cujo. I’m a big supporter of my cousins Kelly, Kevin and Kip…wherever they played in the NHL. It wasn’t really like we had a hometown favorite. Whatever team they were playing for, we wanted them to succeed. The Washington Capitals were big because Kelly was there for so long. (It was) the Rangers for a bit because Kelly and Kevin played there. At certain points, it was Pittsburgh, it was St. Louis and Detroit for awhile with Kevin. We just got really excited for the teams they played for.
BLUES: Fans are curious about what your new mask might look like. When will you get it and can you give us any insight into what it might look like?
MILLER: The painter has it and he’s had it for about a week. He had a family matter come up, and that takes priority. We’re going to have a little delay on it, but I’m sure we’ll see it hopefully this week. It’s a nod to Curtis Joseph in a way, but it’s definitely more my take on it.
BLUES: Not many guys can say they are married to an actress on a popular TV show like 'Anger Management.' How cool is that?
MILLER: Yeah, my wife Noureen has been working on the show for about a year and a half. It’s been pretty cool. She’s an extremely talented, hard working, driven person. I think that’s kind of what attracted both of us to each other. We’re both very serious about what we do. It’s going to be fun for fans to watch some of the stuff she’s in. She’s in some movies and some other shows. She’s pretty funny. Comedy is actually her strongest suit, and she’s really quick, really sharp. It’s a lot of fun.
BLUES: So do you know Charlie Sheen? Is he always winning like he says?
MILLER: Yeah we know Charlie. I think he’s tried to move on from that phase in his life. He’s a really nice person. He gets a lot of misconceptions about the way he carries himself. He’s actually very nice, very generous… he’s very respectful to my wife. He treats her as a good friend and he’s treated me as a good friend.
BLUES: Tell us a little bit about the Steadfast Foundation, the charitable organization you created.
MILLER: Steadfast is a foundation we set up about eight or nine years (ago). The origins are an inspiration for my cousin, who was battling leukemia at the time. He was diagnosed at 16 and he passed away when he was 18. The idea was to show him that people are behind him. When he was at the hospital, he always took the time to get to meet people and get to know families. You start to realize that patients need a lot of help and the families need a lot of help, so we focused on the psychosocial elements of fighting childhood and young adult cancer cases, so it’s something where they have great medicines across the country now, but you need the right environment, so we try to raise money to provide the environment.
The programs help them have a sense of normalcy, get them out to hockey games, get them to programs called 'Cancer in the Classroom,' where we re-acclimate them after long treatment and get them back into school and ease them back in. Also, we educate their peers and teach them what to expect so it’s not awkward or hard for them.
It started pretty humbly, we just wanted to raise money and raise awareness. It got a lot of attention and just turned us into doing this full time. So we’ve been raising funds through different fundraisers for about eight and half or nine years. We’ve raised well over a million dollars for Western New York just through charity events. I do other things personally that so far has just been in Buffalo, and some programs in Michigan. I’d like to get involved in the community here at some point after we get a little more down time.
BLUES: You’re brought here as a piece that will hopefully bring this organization its first Stanley Cup. We imagine that’s something you can take a lot of pride in.
MILLER: Yeah, it’s a very big compliment from the management to go out and make that move. I’m just trying to do my best to get acclimated and get myself comfortable and fit in with this group, because they’ve built a great team. I feel like I am a piece of the team, and I’m here to be a piece and do the job and try not to make anything more than that. That’s my job, I’ll stick to doing it the best I can. Hopefully it all comes together and it’s the right recipe and we have a nice long run into the postseason where a lot of good things can happen. Ultimately at the end, you want to win the Cup.
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