Miller has 'earned ice time' as B's injury replacement

Miller has 'earned ice time' as B's injury replacement
December 3, 2013, 11:15 pm
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Bruins rookie Kevan Miller is from Los Angeles, but has found a hockey home in Boston.

(AP Photo)

WILMINGTON – Claude Julien answered “absolutely” when asked last week if he expected to see rookie defenseman Kevan Miller back up with the big club after he was sent back down to Providence. The Bruins coach and the rookie defenseman both probably had no idea it would be this quickly, but Miller was back on the Ristuccia Arena practice ice on Tuesday morning with injuries to Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid.

It’s anticipated that Krug may be ready to play when the Bruins head to Montreal for Thursday’s game at the Bell Centre, but Miller is more than likely the lineup replacement for the similarly tough and defensively inclined McQuaid.

He was also able to keep warm by playing AHL games over the weekend against Norfolk and Hershey, so Miller is more than ready if McQuaid can’t answer the bell.

“[Monday] night I got the call, so that’s the way it goes. It’s a confidence booster, and I just have to be ready to go if I’m called,” said Miller. “The sooner is the better for me. It’s a good feeling.”

The 26-year-old averaged 17:27 of ice time in three games played through injuries last week, and quickly earned the confidence of the Bruins coaching staff with his reliable stay-at-home game. The steady development in Miller’s game has been remarkable while going from an undrafted D-man out of the University of Vermont all the way to a player on the cusp of establishing himself at the NHL level.

“We’re a group of people that don’t care where you were drafted, whether you were a first rounder or a free agent,” said Claude Julien. “If you are deserving of playing on that night, or if you’re deserving of a call-up then you’re going to get it. If you’re deserving of ice time then you’re going to get it.

“It all revolves around [the player’s] play. There are so things that have happened in our game from guys being free agents to guys becoming Hall of Famers, and all kinds of other things. We don’t judge individuals by where they’re drafted more than by how they play. [Miller] has played well enough to earn that ice time when he’s had to.”

Miller has made a good first impression with the Bruins, so now it’s up to him to keep that going if his No. 86 is called again for third D pairing duty this week.