By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Even if the National Hockey League finds a way to get back to work this season, Boston Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller is unlikely to, general manager Don Sweeney confirmed in a Friday video conference with the media.
"In Kevan’s case, he has been able to maintain some therapy [during the break]," Sweeney, whose team paused with a league-best 100 points, offered. “He’s just had some setbacks that I don’t believe, at this time, that it’ll be in his best interest to try and ramp up in a short span with the hopes of playing this year."
Disappointing, of course. But hardly surprising.
In fact, Miller's comeback attempts have become synonymous with "setbacks" at this point, as the 32-year-old is still trying to work his way back from an injury that's left him out of game action for the Black and Gold since April of last year.
Injured when he went knee-first into the boards and broke his kneecap in Boston's penultimate game of the 2018-19 season, Miller's 2019 postseason comeback attempt was put to rest when he re-broke the kneecap (I'm wincing just writing about it), and has since gone through a repeatedly stop-and-start comeback attempt this season.
There would be weeks where Miller would be on the ice multiple times, but then you wouldn't see him for a month. And the cycle seemingly repeated again and again until the league went on pause. This was part by design, really, as the Bruins didn't want to put Miller through a potential repeat of last year's failed comeback attempt.
“He needs to get back to being absolutely, fully healthy," said Sweeney. "He’s got a longer timeline to make sure he does things in smaller stages that would afford him the opportunity to be 100 percent healthy and return to play.”
And even with Miller's status as a pending unrestricted free agent, the Bruins continue to talk about a future with No. 86 remaining in Boston should a deal make sense for both parties.
"Our intentions are for Kevan to be 100 percent healthy so he can resume when we start the next season," Sweeney acknowledged. "We know Kevan is a UFA, so we will entertain the opportunity to bring Kevan back, and he will also entertain whether or not he wants to be back.”
Miller, who has spent his entire career with the Bruins after a collegiate career at the University of Vermont, has 12 goals, 67 points, and a plus-80 rating in 324 career games with Boston.