Boston Bruins daily report: Kevan Miller deserves praise

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 27: Kevan Miller
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 27: Kevan Miller /

The Boston Bruins held practice as scheduled on Friday morning after the winter storm caused Thursday night’s game to be cancelled. The Bruins have been on fire since late November and Kevan Miller has been one of the reasons why.

As Boston and the rest of the Northeast shovels themselves out from the “Bomb Cyclone” or whatever you want to call it, the Bruins returned to practice Friday, and everyone was present and accounted for.

By now it is no secret across the league that the Bruins have been red hot. Over the last 21 games, the team has posted a record of 16-3-2, which has seen them rise from second to last in the Atlantic Division to tied for second.

While the usual suspects, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and some of the rookies like Charlie McAvoy are garnering a lot of the praise, and deservedly so, one of the unsung heroes has been veteran defenseman Kevan Miller.

Miller, who turned 30 back in November is in his 5th season with the Bruins, has never been known for his scoring presence but has always been reliable as a stay-at-home defenseman. He has been tasked with helping mentor some of the young defensive players, mainly Matt Grzelyck, (we’ll get to him in a minute) while also logging big minutes on the back end.

OTTAWA, ON – DECEMBER 30: Kevan Miller
OTTAWA, ON – DECEMBER 30: Kevan Miller /

Over the course of this 21 game stretch, Miller has appeared in 20, averaging 19:13 TOI, with a plus 10 rating while even contributing four points (1-3-4). He has stabilized the team’s 3rd defensive pairing, while also logging big minutes on the penalty kill.

During his Friday Press Conference, Bruce Cassidy was asked about the young defensemen and how they’ve grown, the one answer that really stood out to me was when he spoke about Grzelyck or “Grizz” as he’s known around the locker room:

"“They’re good players and good players will eventually find their way in this league, some quicker than others,” said Cassidy. “Grizz took a little while to get a feel for where he is. I think his partner really helps, I think [him and Miller are] a good tandem, they make each other better. That’s what you want out of a line, out of a defense pair.”"

The coach’s answer speaks volumes about Miller and the leadership he provides (he was honored with being one of the Alternate Captains back in November while Backes was sidelined) seeing how impressed the coaching staff has been with Grzelyck’s growth. He has been a plus 13 with five points (1-4–5) since being called up in late November, skating with Miller the entire time.

For the casual hockey fan, Miller may not stick out while the Bruins play, but just no there are other ways to have an impact besides being on the score sheet. Kevan Miller is a great example of that.

Other Practice Notes

Cassidy stated Friday that the plan for the weekend is to split the two games between Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin. He wouldn’t specify who is getting which game (Saturday vs Carolina, Sunday @ Pittsburgh) but he did say the original plan was Khudobin to go Saturday, and then Rask Sunday, but the cancelled game Thursday may have shaken things up.

Still no word on when the rescheduled game vs the Florida Panthers will be.

Adam McQuaid (Leg) is still on the IR according to the Bruins official roster. He did practice in full Friday as he was paired up with Paul Postma.

No line changes this morning as the team seems to be prepared to dress the same 18 skaters that they have for the past few games now. Hard to blame them, they’ve put up five goals in three of the four games since Christmas Break.

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Friday’s Forward Lines/Defensive Pairs

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
DeBrusk – Krejci – Spooner
Heinen – Nash – Backes
Schaller – Kuraly – Acciari

Chara – McAvoy
Krug – Carlo
Grzelcyk – Miller
Postma – McQuaid