Miller excited to achieve NHL goal with Bruins

Miller excited to achieve NHL goal with Bruins
October 1, 2013, 10:45 pm
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WATERBURY, VT – One would expect defenseman Kevan Miller would be overcome with giddy excitement to know he’s starting the NHL season with the Boston Bruins after toiling for the last three seasons in Providence.

One would be wrong.

Sure the 25-year-old former University of Vermont standout is happy to finally achieve his dream of making the NHL after an excellent training camp. But it’s not like Miller is doing anything now that he didn’t think was already possible if he worked hard enough, stayed healthy and found an organization that values defenseman skilled in the art of hitting hard while playing a punishing brand of hockey.

Many around the Bruins might have been surprised Miller will be among the 23 players introduced on opening night, but the UVM alum isn't one of them.

“A lot of people were like ‘are you surprised?’, and this and that. I have goals to play in the NHL. I wasn’t surprised,” said Miller, who will start the season as one of eight defensemen on the Boston roster. “It was an exciting welcoming. My reaction was like ‘alright’, and now hopefully I get into some games.”

It was a fun last few days for the Los Angeles native while taking part in the team-bonding exercises in Vermont with the rest of the Bruins teammates, and with good reason given his standout four year career with the Catamounts. He followed that with two standout seasons as a rugged, stay-at-home defenseman with the Providence Bruins, and that put him squarely on the radar of the B’s coaching staff.

“I think he’s improved immensely over the years in Providence, and he’s become a very steady, dependable defenseman,” said Claude Julien. “Everybody knows he’s not the flashy type, but he is very dependable. He’s big. He’s strong. He defends well, he moves the puck well and he’s got a good shot.

“So he’s got a lot of qualities, and he’s certainly a guy that had a great camp while earning a spot with us.”

While it’s unclear just how much Miller is going to play with so many talented defensemen on the NHL roster for Boston, but most are puck-moving D-men with speed, passing ability and the skills to create offense. Miller certainly seems capable of making a solid first pass and will pick up his share of assists, but he brings toughness, defense and a willingness to make an opponent pay to get near the net.

One of the more memorable moments from Miller’s camp was his skirmish with Washington Capitals tough guy Aaron Volpatti when both players were slapped with unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for taking each other’s helmets off prior to the hockey fight.

That fits right in with what the Bruins want to accomplish, and it gives them a physical defender should injuries strike at some of the more physical members of the B’s defensemen corps.

“It’s great. I think the organization appreciates a player like me that’s hard to play against. They’re a hard team to play against,” said Miller. “They take pride in that, and it’s something I take a lot of pride in. So it coincides pretty well.”