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Bad News for the Bruins: Kevan Miller Out Five Weeks

November 29, 2018

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By Steve Conroy

Boston Herald

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins received what they thought was good news on Kevan Miller Monday night in Toronto. But with the way this season is going, they should have known better.

While X-rays on Miller’s throat taken immediately after the B’s 4-2 loss to the Maple Leafs were negative, a CT scan revealed the defenseman suffered cartilage damage in his larynx and will be out at least five weeks.

It was just his fourth game back after missing over a month with a hand injury, also incurred on a blocked shot.

The B’s managed to keep their heads above water during Miller’s first absence, but in just a few games he showed how much they missed his physicality, size and snarl.

“It’s unfortunate for the person, first. He plays his heart out and it’s two blocked shots that have put him on the shelf, but that’s his game and hopefully when he does come back, he’s ready to go,” B’s coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We’ll miss him. We saw it when he was out of the lineup, we weren’t as gritty as a team or as hard to play against, so that’s the part we’ll really miss.”

Whether Cassidy can continue to successfully plug the holes on the back end remains to be seen, but he’s somehow been able to do it. The B’s are second in the league in goals-against with a 2.46 average.

“Obviously, that’s a product of good goaltending, guys recognizing you’ve got to pick up some slack. That’s where the character comes in in the forward group,” Cassidy said. “They look down there and realize we have to do a little more work to help the group out. That starts with breaking pucks out so that you’re not stuck in there. That’s where mistakes are made, you start getting fatigued. I thought we’ve handled it well.

“And the last part of it is the depth of these young players. You don’t know what you’ve got until you see them play but look at a guy like (Connor) Clifton. He’s come in and done a real nice job, he’s moved the puck and stayed out of trouble. He had a little bit of a hiccup in Arizona. He learned that there’s a time and a place to get going. (Jeremy) Lauzon, the same thing. You draft the kid in the second round, but until he gets up here, you don’t know. . . . If we didn’t handle it well, we’d be on the outside looking in right now.”

There’s a chance the B’s might get Brandon Carlo back to fill Miller’s spot. Carlo has been out since Nov. 10 with an injury to the collarbone/shoulder area and was a full participant in practice yesterday for the first time since then. Carlo said it’s been hard sitting out while the team has been beset by so many injuries.

“If it were up to me, I probably would have been in a long time ago, but I think it’s the name of the game. If I come back in and I get injured that night, it just doesn’t look good,” Carlo said. “Overall it’s tough to sit around and watch when you want to be playing. I feel like I can contribute a lot to the ‘D’ corps right now. I felt like I was playing pretty good before I got injured. I just want to build off that.”

DeBrusk back on ice

In some rare good news on the health front, Jake DeBrusk was back on he ice for practice after taking a Danton Heinen shot to the head on Monday. Unless DeBrusk, who had some concussion issues last year, experiences any symptoms before tonight’s game, he should be good to go.

“It’s pretty clear now, to be honest,” DeBrusk said. “At first it’s more of a shock. I kind of got slew-footed into a puck to the head. I didn’t really have time to react to that one. It was unfortunate and not something you see too often. I felt all right after that.”

With DeBrusk iffy, the B’s brought up Ryan Donato. After scoring one goal in 11 games, Donato was demoted to Providence, where he had 5-4-9 totals in 10 games. He also lost five teeth and took 25 stitches after taking a puck to the mouth in practice.

Kovar at practice

Released from his AHL tryout deal, center Jan Kovar practiced with the B’s as they contemplate signing the former point-per-game player in the KHL.

“Very skilled. He’s got good hockey sense. The concern with him is the pace at the NHL level. He’s a player that wasn’t at camp, so I didn’t now anything about the player and we wanted to get some eyes on him,” Cassidy said.

The 28-year-old Kovar had four goals and six assists with a minus-11 in 12 games for Providence. . . .

Meanwhile, it looks like the B’s could still use a centerman. Colby Cave skated between David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand while future third line center candidate Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson (“good one night, the next night average,” said Cassidy) was dropped to the fourth line between Noel Acciari and Joakim Nordstrom.

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