Kalman: A Lot At Stake For Bruins Defenseman Kevan Miller
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WILMINGTON (CBS) – Kevan Miller says that if the Bruins had tried to call him up from Providence of the American Hockey League over the weekend, he would’ve been in a predicament.
Like his P-Bruins teammate David Warsofsky, Miller didn’t have his passport on him while Providence was visiting the Adirondack Phantoms. Warsofsky had to head back to Providence and then to Ottawa to join the Bruins. Later Saturday, Zach Trotman, who had his passport with him, made it just in time to play in the Bruins’ loss to the Senators.
“Lesson learned,” Miller said.
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As of Monday afternoon, Warsofsky and Trotman had been returned to the minors and Miller was back with the parent club for practice at Ristuccia Arena. That might change Tuesday depending on the availability of captain Zdeno Chara, who practiced but left early.
The passport lesson was just the latest bit of knowledge about life in pro hockey and the NHL for the 26-year-old Miller. Just a couple of weeks ago, he learned about the Collective Bargaining Agreement and how sometimes rules written to protect a player’s rights can hurt him.
Miller impressed during a nine-game stint with one goal, one assist and some heads-up defensive play. But if he’d played that 10th game, the Bruins would have had to expose him to waivers before sending him down to Providence later on. So Miller went down and Warsofsky came up. That’s not exactly the reward Miller was hoping for.
“I mean I guess it’s a rule to protect the player. But so … it was unfortunate, but if there was a good thing out of it, then that’s it,” Miller said after practice. “They were looking out for my best interests. It was unfortunate, but I’m glad I’m here now.”
The Bruins’ need for help on defense is longer-term now that Dennis Seidenberg is done for the year with an ACL/MCL injury in his right leg. Seemingly, the Bruins are now willing to let Miller pass that 10-game threshold because a demotion back to the AHL could be as far as months away if it comes at all. Remember, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said after Miller’s last demotion that the next time the defenseman came up to Boston, he’d be with the big club to stay.
Between those comments by Chiarelli and the Bruins’ general decision that exposing Miller to waivers would be like giving him away because at least one team would claim him, it’d be easy for the California native to get a big head. His helmet still fits, though.
“No, none of that. I’ve got a ways to go,” Miller said.
Although he has to be careful to not do too much in his efforts to help replace Seidenberg, Miller has more at stake now than his fellow Bruins defensemen. If he doesn’t play well, he could be on waivers and then either back in the AHL or with another organization. But if he does the job, he could ease the blow of the Seidenberg injury and maybe make another Bruins defenseman expendable.
Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for CBSBoston.com and also contributes to NHL.com and several other media outlets. Follow him on Twitter @TheBruinsBlog.