Kevan Miller

Injury news isn't good for Bruins' Kevan Miller and Chris Wagner

Injury news isn't good for Bruins' Kevan Miller and Chris Wagner

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins got bad news on a couple of injured players as Kevan Miller (knee) has had a setback in his attempt to return for the Stanley Cup Final and Chris Wagner (right arm) doesn’t look as if he'll be back either. 

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney addressed the media on Saturday morning at Warrior Ice Arena, as he’s done prior to every playoff series, and said Zdeno Chara is trending to be ready for Game 1, he mentioned the word “setback” with Miller as he attempts to return from a knee injury that’s kept him out for the entire postseason.

“We’ve got some time to evaluate where guys will be,” said Sweeney, referencing the 10-day layoff between the conference final and the Stanley Cup Final. “I don’t expect [Miller] to be ready to play. I’ll be really surprised if [Wagner] will be ready to play, but we’ll see where that goes.”

While Miller has worked out with the Bruins and been with the team on their playoff journey, he really hasn’t been anywhere close to returning at any point in the playoffs with multiple setbacks following his late-season injury.

Wagner left Carolina after blocking a Justin Faulk point blast in the waning moments of Game 3 and was transported to Boston midweek for subsequent testing and treatment. At this time of year, NHL teams tend to be secretive and vague about injuries, and it honestly would be a surprise to see either back for the Stanley Cup Final even with the nearly two-week layoff between playoff rounds.

Noel Acciari and Connor Clifton have stepped up and played well filling in for the injured players and the Bruins haven’t missed much of a beat as they ready for a chance at their second Stanley Cup title since 2011. 

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Miller (lower body) has 'made some progress,' but not ready to start ECF

Miller (lower body) has 'made some progress,' but not ready to start ECF

The Bruins may not be getting much help as far as health goes on their back end with Charlie McAvoy potentially looking at a Game 1 suspension for his hit in the closeout game versus the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.

Veteran D-man Kevin Miller (lower body) isn’t ready to return, according to the Tuesday update from Don Sweeney, with McAvoy likely to be headed for at least a one-game suspension for his head shot to Josh Anderson in the third period of Monday night’s 3-0 win in Game 6.

Miller has missed the entire 13 games of Boston’s playoff run to date after injuring his knee in the final few games of the regular season, and really hasn’t been seen on the ice much since then. Still, the Bruins remain hopeful that he can make a return at some point in their extended playoff run.

“[There is] nothing definitive. [He’s] made some progress. We’re hopeful,” said Sweeney. “The further we play, the more opportunity he has.”

John Moore (upper body) has been in and out of the lineup and could be available to play if absolutely needed, but it sounds like he’s “dealing with stuff that makes it hard.” In other words, a nagging injury that’s been negatively impacting Moore’s performance with zero points and a minus-4 in the four postseason games that he has appeared in for the Black and Gold.

Based on all that, the expectation would be that extra D-man Steve Kampfer would probably draw into the B’s lineup for Game 1 against the Carolina Hurricanes should McAvoy get suspended for his illegal check to Anderson’s head. Kampfer played one game in the first round vs. the Maple Leafs, registering 11:06 of ice time, but has otherwise been relegated to the press box for the entirety of Boston’s postseason after dressing for 35 games during the regular season.

McAvoy is scheduled to have a phone hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety on Tuesday and should learn his fate pretty quickly after that. 

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Bruins news: Kevan Miller (knee) out to start playoff series vs. Maple Leafs

kevan_miller_bruins.jpg
File photo

Bruins news: Kevan Miller (knee) out to start playoff series vs. Maple Leafs

BRIGHTON, Mass. – The Bruins have already suffered their first injury blow of the playoffs before they’ve even begun as defenseman Kevan Miller is out to start the first round series vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs with a left knee injury.

Miller suffered the injury in the win over Minnesota last week when he crashed awkwardly into the corner boards while battling with Jordan Greenway for a loose puck. Miller returned for a couple of shifts later in the period, but sat out of the final game of the regular season for what the Bruins described as “precautionary reasons.”

“Kevan Miller has some additional swelling and some further tests and he’s not likely to start the series,” said Bruins general manager Don Sweeney. “But as far as [Sean] Kuraly and [John] Moore go, I think we expect to see them at some point during the series.”

It’s another in a long line of injuries this season for Miller, who missed exactly half of the regular season with an assortment of injuries. The Bruins will certainly miss his rugged, physical style of play and the surliness he brought to the table when things get nasty in the postseason, but they also have a young player in Connor Clifton who’s stepped up this season as he’s received opportunities in Boston due to injuries.

Certainly Clifton has shown a penchant for throwing hard hits, and also annoying the other team’s best players as he did while battling with Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov in the final regular-season game last weekend.

“The growth in his game has been very good. He’s a very competitive guy, so this time of year that’s one of the most important things and certainly an identity of our club. I think he’s more comfortable moving the puck, when to make a play, when to join the rush,” said Bruce Cassidy of Clifton. “[He’s] certainly physical and will take an opportunity to finish his checks. This time of year that becomes, that increases with every team.

“I like where he’s at with his game. We’ll see when he gets in there how he responds, but as you know, most teams will go through a certain number of defensemen [due to injuries] if you have any type of run at all. I suspect we’ll see him at some point [in the playoffs].”

Sweeney also said that both Sean Kuraly and John Moore have begun skating again, and the hope is that both injured players will insert into the B’s lineup at some point during the first-round playoff series against the Maple Leafs. 

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