With Adam McQuaid back in the lineup and Dennis Seidenberg poised to return in the next few days, the time had come for the Bruins to send Kevan Miller back to the AHL after making him an emergency call-up last week.
The Bruins did exactly that on Thursday by sending the 26-year-old stay-at-home defenseman to the Providence Bruins after he’d played three very good games for the Black and Gold amid some injuries. Miller had been so strong that he was on the ice with Zdeno Chara in the final minute protecting a one-goal lead against the Pittsburgh Penguins. That is trust that can be hard-earned for young players with the B’s coaching staff.
Miller finished with a zero rating and two shots on net while averaging 17:27 of ice time in the three games, and coach Claude Julien indicated it was a difficult choice playing McQuaid ahead of him Wednesday night against the Red Wings.
“I think we all saw good a defenseman he was. He was pretty steady,” said Claude Julien. “Even yesterday I had to think about it right up until warm-up as to whether I was going to keep him in, or go with [McQuaid]. The experience of [McQuaid] was the kind of guy that we needed with the young [defensemen] corps right now.”
Miller was sent down before practice Thursday at TD Garden, but the former University of Vermont standout knew this moment was coming as he watched McQuaid and Seidenberg get closer to full health.
“I think I had a pretty good three-game stretch, and if I go back down then that’s what happens,” said Miller. “When you get up here and you realize you can play at this level, it will make me want to get back here if I do get sent down. I’ll want to get back up here as soon as possible.”
Given the normal attrition that goes on with every defensemen corps in the NHL, it will be Miller time again in Boston sooner rather than later.