BRIGHTON, Mass. — Kevan Miller won’t return in the next few games, but it looks likely the rugged D-man could return to game action in the next few weeks after joining the Bruins practice group in a no-contact sweater on Thursday morning.
The 31-year-old Miller has played a grand total of three games since last February due to a couple of fractured knee caps and missed all of last spring’s Stanley Cup Final run due to the knee injuries. Consequently, Miller has missed all 12 games for the Bruins this year and isn’t expected in the next stretch of three games in four days beginning on Saturday vs. Ottawa while slowly ramping things up to make certain he’s healthy this season.
Miller appeared to make it through Thursday’s practice without incident and should be on the ice on Friday with the no-contact sweater once again, but Bruce Cassidy indicated that status may change at some point next week.
“He was good today. We’ll see how he did [afterward]. I’m sure he’s fine coming out of today’s practice because there wasn’t any contact,” said Cassidy of Miller, who finished with seven assists and a plus-8 rating in 39 games last season. “I suspect he will join us for practice in a contact jersey at some time next week if things go well. He’s progressing well, but he’s still on a timeline where he wouldn’t be available for the next three games anyway.”
Clearly the Bruins could use Miller’s size, strength and toughness as he was definitely missed when his longtime on-ice nemesis Evander Kane was running around the ice in Tuesday’s win over the San Jose Sharks. But it will be interesting to see what happens roster-wise when Miller does return as the Bruins already have a strong six-man unit that’s gelled together nicely, and they have the perfect extra D-man in Steve Kampfer waiting in reserve.
Will the Bruins go with eight D-men, or would they potentially send either Kampfer or Connor Clifton down to Providence to make room for Miller once he’s healthy?
The Bruins are at least a week or two away from being forced to make a roster decision with Miller’s return if he can avoid the setbacks that befell him during his attempted return during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Both Joakim Nordstrom (infection) and Par Lindholm (upper body) were also missing from Thursday’s practice with injuries.
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