After rejoining his Buffalo Sabres teammates for the first time, goalie Ryan Miller had a few things to get off his chest regarding the NHL lockout.

"The best thing to do is acknowledge that it was stupid," Miller said Friday before turning his attention to Sabres fans. "I appreciate their patience. I know it's a hard situation. I still don't even know the right message because it was just a stupid, useless waste of time."

Miller, who played a role in negotiations, called himself "embarrassed" that it took more than six months of negotiations to reach an agreement. At one point during talks, he gave up on the possibility of there being a season this year.

He laid much of the blame on commissioner Gary Bettman, whom he accused of being the reason why the four-month lockout wasn't resolved sooner.

"In my mind, it always had to be January in Gary Bettman's mind," Miller said. "Obviously, he had something in his head and he was going to see how far he could take it. So there's really no going up against Gary when he has something in his head."

The outspoken Miller already seems in midseason form. "It's exciting to be back. It's the way that you're supposed to feel," he said. "It's not in the boardroom, so that's good. It's getting back on the ice, and that's the important part."

Luongo in trade limbo

Roberto Luongo still is open to a trade no matter how long it takes the Vancouver Canucks to deal him. The star goalie was displaced as Vancouver's No. 1 netminder by Cory Schneider in last year's playoffs. After the season, Luongo said he would waive his no-trade clause if asked, but general manager Mike Gillis couldn't swing a deal before the 113-day NHL lockout. -- AP


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