Bruins announce Miller will be sidelined 'for an extended period'


Bruins announce Miller will be sidelined 'for an extended period'

BRIGHTON -- Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller will be out “for an extended period of time,” according to general manager Don Sweeney because of an undisclosed injury suffered in last weekend’s 1-0 overtime win against the Philadelphia Flyers in the preseason finale.

Miller, 28, had previously been hobbled by a knee issue after getting hit by a puck during a preseason loss to the Canadiens. But Sweeney indicated this new injury was unrelated to that.

Clearly the loss of Miller will be mitigated by the fact that 19-year-old Brandon Carlo and 23-year-old Rob O’Gara have shown they might be ready for the NHL after impressive training camps, and both of those young players will be on the roster to at least start the season.

“We’re getting updates currently. [Adam] McQuaid is more of a short term,” said Don Sweeney. “Kevan Miller will likely be out for an extended period of time, but we’re waiting for the last medical report on him. So we’ll have some roster decisions. You saw the moves made yesterday to get down to the one small group today that will, in all likelihood, open up on Thursday night.

“Part of [improving the defense] is the development process of looking at some of our younger players that we want to integrate in. Now it comes down to the performance aspect of it. We’ve said all along the opportunity would be there if the younger players were able to step forward, and we’ve seen a couple of players that have emerged in that regard. Whether it’s injury or it’s through their good play, the coaching staff has been excited about their play. So we move forward with that.”

Miller played a career-high 71 games last season and had signed a four year, $10 million contract extension this summer with the expectation that he would be key performer for a revamped blue line group.

Morning Skate: Is the NHL playoff system broken?

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Morning Skate: Is the NHL playoff system broken?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while the Bruins are finally back in Boston.  

*Larry Brooks says that the NHL playoff system is broken as it continues to “pass off mediocrity as parity.” I don’t really agree that there’s a big problem, but it will be too bad that one of the Eastern Conference’s two best teams (Boston and Tampa Bay) will be done after the second round of the playoffs.

*A pretty cool gesture from the Montreal Canadiens as a group of them wore turtlenecks during warm-ups on Saturday night prior to playing Tomas Plekanec for the first timer as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

*Congrats to the Team USA Paralympics squad for capturing another Gold Medal for the Red, White and Blue. What a great story they are.   

*Evander Kane opens up about Winnipeg, his past on social media and hockey culture as he seems to have found a place where he’s comfortable in San Jose.

*The Carolina Hurricanes are suspending their GM search until the group of available candidates can widen in the offseason. That was probably always for the best.

*The New York Islanders are getting a little weird with things here late in the season as they’re taking a look at John Tavares on the wing. Hmmm. Seems like an odd move.

*For something completely different: A great return for Bill Hader to Saturday Night Live where he revisited a number of his best characters.


Backes escapes skate blade situation with deep cut that 'wasn't too dangerous'

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Backes escapes skate blade situation with deep cut that 'wasn't too dangerous'

TAMPA – David Backes certainly didn’t escape the scary situation with an errant skate blade unscathed, of course. 

The 33-year-old limped his way to the Bruins team bus out of Amalie Arena after Boston’s 3-0 shutout win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, and needed approximately 18 stitches to close up the gash on his right thigh. But Backes was still able to joke about it as he exited the dressing room while knowing that it could have been much, much worse with that kind of freak accident on the ice. 

"I'll play a second period one of these days,” said a smiling Backes, who was forced out of Saturday night’s loss with the skate blade cut in the last minute of the first period and exited the Florida loss as well after catching a match penalty in the first period as well. Luckily for him, there was no structural damage to Backes’ right leg after Yanni Gourde caught him in the thigh area as both players were down on the ice around the Tampa net.

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There was a lot of blood, however, as he quickly exited the ice, sped past the bench and headed right to the Bruins dressing room with Bruins trainer Donnie DelNegro trailing right behind. 

“I went in and saw him between periods. He’s okay. There’s no structural damage. There will be concern going forward about swelling or infection, but it looks like he’ll be okay. We’ll classify him as day-to-day, but I don’t know if he’ll be ready to play on Monday,” said Bruce Cassidy of Backes, who actually scored the second goal of the game for the Bruins as a power play strike. “You see a guy coming off like that and you see the blood pooling up, and you’re always worried they could hit an artery somewhere. He was able to get up. That was the first good sign and he was able to be tended to quickly. 

“It is scary. But we were told it would be a deep cut that would require some stitches, and it wasn’t too dangerous.”

For now it just becomes an eventful month for Backes where he’s been suspended, tossed out of a game with a match penalty and now forced out of a game after a freak skate blade incident, but there’s no doubt he’ll return better and stronger than ever in rapid fashion as he’s done through the last two seasons with the Bruins.