Kevan Miller established himself as one of the NHL‘s most menacing fighters as a rookie back. Then he had his second NHL season derailed by a fight.
Now fully recovered from shoulder surgery that ended his 2014-15 campaign in February, the 27-year-old admits that the consequences of dropping the gloves will be on his mind as opportunities to fight are presented going forward.
“It’s obviously a part of my game, but I don’t think it’s something that defines my game,” Miller told WEEI.com Monday. “I think that it’s something that’s definitely going to be in the back of your mind. Going into any fight, it’s in the back of your mind, getting injured, this and that. Having a shoulder injury issue is definitely something that will be in the back of my mind.
“I’m actually to the point now where I’ve been able to kind of hit the bag at home and feel OK. I feel really comfortable with my shoulder and where it’s at right now. Like I said, it will definitely be in the back of my mind, but I don’t think it will really affect me too much.”
Miller fought four times as a rookie in 2013-14, with each one making other players less and less interested in going against him. He first suffered a right shoulder injury fighting Sabres forward Nicolas Deslauriers on Oct. 18 last year, his only fight of the season. He missed the next 13 games before re-joining the lineup up Nov. 21.
Team doctors instructed Miller to not fight upon his return to the lineup, which lasted until he re-injured the shoulder on Feb. 16 against the Flames, ending his season.
Miller, who has been skating back home in California, said he has been completely healthy for roughly three weeks after being limited for much of the offseason.
Check back later for more from Miller as he enters his third NHL season and final year of his contract.