BRIGHTON, Mass – Boston Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller isn’t going to play on Saturday afternoon against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but the B’s may see their rugged, veteran defenseman back in the lineup next week after a return to full practice on Friday.
The 33-year-old defenseman has essentially been out for the last six weeks due to his chronic knee issues after playing in the first 15 games of the season but has slowly been ramping things back the last few weeks. Miller practiced in pairings with Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril on Friday and was involved in some penalty killing work as well and looked like he was moving well and without pain in his first extended work with his teammates.
Bruce Cassidy ruled him out for a return this weekend, but the Bruins host the Flyers on Monday before headed on a three-game road trip through Philly and Washington where the hard-nosed defenseman could become an option.
“[His return] won’t be that quick, but ask me again on Monday,” said Cassidy. “He’s getting closer, but he won’t play tomorrow.”
A Miller return would be a godsend for the Black and Gold as Brandon Carlo is again out of the lineup with an injury, and Connor Clifton has struggled as of late given regular playing time amidst so many back-end injuries. The natural follow-up question would be, though, how long will Miller be able to stay in the lineup with chronic knee issues and a compacted NHL schedule that essentially has the Bruins playing every other night for the rest of the season.
There was very little update on Carlo aside from him being out for Saturday’s game against the Penguins and considered day-to-day at this point. Tuukka Rask once again missed practice and will be out for this weekend but is getting treatment at the Bruins practice facility for an injury that’s proven challenging for the 33-year-old netminder.
“He’s here getting treatments, but it just hasn’t responded as much as anybody would like,” said Cassidy. “So, we don’t have a definitive timeline [on a return]. But am I biting my fingernails off over it? No. [Dan Vladar] is getting an opportunity and I thought he’s played well. He’s certainly given us a chance to win every game he’s played, and he’s won two of them. And Jaro [Halak] has been as advertised and he’s played well for the most part. I’m comfortable with whoever we are putting out there.”
Here are the Bruins line combos and D-pairings for Friday’s practice at Warrior where it looks like Sean Kuraly may get back into the lineup for Boston against the Penguins: