The Boston Bruins have had to reach deep into their depth to get to where they are now. In that depth, they’ve discovered several pleasant surprises. Reilly Smith came out firing like gang busters, Chris Kelly may have found his best spot on the wing, and the new third “How Swede it is!” line. Of all those surprises, the biggest one of the season so far has got to be Kevan Miller rising from the ranks of Providence to earn himself a legitimate slot on the Boston roster.
Kevan Miller has been a physical presence for the Bruins, he makes few mistakes, and is completely fearless when it comes to dropping the gloves. His hard work was rewarded with a two-year contract with Boston. As much as I have enjoyed watching him, his play in the last few weeks has led me to an ugly but very likely conclusion. That Miller will be staying in Boston and another defenseman will be given his walking papers.
That blueliner will likely be Adam McQuaid. Believe me, this is one of those times I’d love to be wrong. Adam McQuaid is one of those players that just fits the Boston mentality perfectly. He’s a solid physical presence. He’s also fearless when it comes to dropping the gloves in a fight. There is also that fantastic character of his. He took Dougie Hamilton in his home when the kid first came to Boston (They’re still roommates). He’s a blue collar player that is a great piece of the Black and Gold puzzle.
McQuaid hasn’t played a game since January 19th, when the Bruins took on the Blackhawks. It was initially a quad strain, and it wasn’t supposed to be that serious. The injury remained persistant though. He suffered a set back at the end of last month, and hopes have faded that he’ll be back in the line up by the playoffs. This is his second consecutive injury plagued season(he dealt with a life threatening blood clot last season). To date, he has six points (one goal) in thirty games this season.
It comes down to money. Miller is half the price of McQuaid, and delivers the same sort of hits and playing ability. As much as Peter Chiarelli loves keeping the core of 2011 Bruins together, it’s a business and Chiarelli will do the best he can to have the best team possible. As I said, I’m really hoping I’m wrong here.