Kevan Miller is entering his third NHL season. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)Last season there wasn’t much of a question as to where Kevan Miller would fit in the Bruins lineup.



Kevan Miller established himself as one of the NHL‘s most menacing fighters as a rookie back.

Kevan Miller

Kevan Miller

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.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

When Marian Hossa brings the Stanley Cup home to Slovakia, Zdeno Chara is there.

In what’s becoming a recurring tradition (because Hossa wins the Cup kind of often), the Bruins’ captain joined the Blackhawks forward for his day with the Cup this week. The two were joined by fellow Trencin native Marian Gaborik.

The Cup’s been to Trencin quite a bit in recent years; since 2011, there’s only been one year (2012) in which none of these guys won the Cup.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
Jeremy Jacobs

Jeremy Jacobs

Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs and longtime scout Bob Crocker were named recipients of the 2015 Lester Patrick trophy for outstanding service to hockey in the United States, the NHL announced Wednesday.

“By honoring Jeremy Jacobs and Bob Crocker, the Lester Patrick Award selection committee has recognized the dedication and drive of two important contributors to hockey in the United States,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said. “Jeremy Jacobs — as owner for 41 years of the NHL‘s first U.S.-based team and long-serving Chairman of our Board of Governors — has provided unparalleled vision, innovation and inspiration to the advancement of hockey and the NHL. As a coach, a scout and a hockey executive, Bob Crocker has devoted decades to the development of young American players. Congratulations to both on this long overdue recognition.”

The trophy honors the memory of Lester Patrick, who devoted 50 years of his life to hockey as a player, coach and general manager and was a pioneer in developing the sport.

Blog Author: 
Josh Slavin

Thirty-eight-year-old Shawn Thornton is entering the final year of a two-year deal with the Panthers. He doesn’€™t know if it will mark the end of a long playing career.

“It’€™s tough to [say],” Thornton said Monday. “I don’€™t know. I’€™m OK either way. Going into my 19th year pro, for my job, I’€™m very happy with what’€™s happened over my career. I’€™m OK if I have to shut her down. If I have a tough year and that’€™s it, then so be it. If I happen to have a good year and things work out and somebody wants to give me a paycheck for another year, I’€™m more than happy to [keep playing].

“I love competing. I love staying in shape. I love the game, I love being around the guys. I’€™ve said if before: I’€™ll play until they rip the skates off me. If that happens to be [next] summer, then it is. If it happens to be the summer after, even better.”

Though he has been an NHL regular for the last nine seasons, Thornton has been playing professionally since 1997-98, his first of four seasons with the St. John’€™s Maple Leafs of the NHL. Out of 19 professional seasons, this will be the third in which he makes $1 million or more. He made just over a million in 2013-14 before taking a deal with Florida that pays him $1.2 million annually.

Thornton, who lives in Charlestown, plans to work in the media after his playing days are done. He has good relationships with both sports radio stations and both sports television channels in town. He got a head-start on his future career by working as on-air talent with Comcast SportsNet late in his Bruins career.

He added to his post-playing resumé in the spring when he worked as an analyst for NBC Sports’€™ coverage of the NHL playoffs, working alongside Mike Milbury and Keith Jones. While Thornton found the work challenging, he said it reaffirmed his desire to make it a profession in the coming years.

“That was an experience,” Thornton said. “I liked it. I really liked it. The second night was probably a little bit better than the first. [I was] a little bit more settled in. [It was] a little nerve-wracking, I’€™m not going to lie to you. I didn’€™t go to broadcasting school, so it’€™s a little different when the cameras are right on you.

“But those guys were great helping out. It was great to try it. Jonesie and Millbury were really, really good about in between takes, giving me some advice here and there. I really enjoyed it.”

Thornton politely passed when reminded he could always try to become beat writer.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

MIDDLETON — Last season, Tuukka Rask turned had the heaviest regular-season workload of any Bruins goalie in over 50 years. His 70 games played tied the Bruins’€™ franchise record, making him the first to hit that mark since Eddie Johnston played all 70 of Boston’€™s games in the 1963-64.

That’€™s not a good thing.

Sure, you want one of the best goalies in the league to play as often as possible, but not literally as often as possible. The reason Rask had to play so many games was because the Bruins didn’€™t think they could win games unless he was playing. Had the Bruins actually made the playoffs, there’s no telling when all of that work would have taken its toll on Boston’s wiry star.

The Bruins didn’€™t have faith in last season’€™s backup, Niklas Svedberg, who departed for the KHL in the offseason. Barring a trade, they likely won’€™t have a sure thing behind Rask this season either. The candidates to man the No. 2 job in Boston this season are Malcolm Subban (one career NHL games), Jeremy Smith (zero career NHL games) and Zane McIntyre (zero career professional games).

“I’€™m sure things are going to sort out,” Rask said Monday at Shawn Thornton‘s Putts and Punches for Parkinson’s golf tournament. “There’€™s good young guys wanting to battle for a spot on the roster. Whatever, whoever it’€™s going to be I’€™m sure is going to be very capable of playing games. We’€™ll see how it plays out, but I’€™m sure there’€™s no reason to worry.”

Rask’€™s previous high in games played during a regular season was 58 games in his Vezina-winning 2013-14 season. After the Bruins missed the playoffs last season, he lamented the toll that playing every game (15 in a row in January, 12 in a row to end the season) took on him.

“Honestly, it felt like [I] played like 15 playoff series out there, but we battled and I battled and just tried to give us a chance to win every game,” Rask said after the final regular-season game. “The last I don’€™€™t know how many games, it felt like if I let in more than two goals, it’€™€™s going to be done. Obviously it drains you mentally, but we battled.”

Rask said Monday that while he was drained from having to handle as much work as he did, he hasn’€™t needed extra recovery time this summer.

“Not crazy,” he said of resting up. “Obviously it’€™s mentally draining when you’€™re battling for that playoff spot and you play a lot of games in a row and stuff like that, but you always feel kind of exhausted afterwards. Then when you do nothing for a week or two, you’€™re kind of like, ‘OK, let’€™s play hockey again.””

The lack of an established backup and some question marks elsewhere on Boston’€™s roster (particularly defense) could point to another busy season for Rask. He didn’€™t seem to like being overused as much as he was (only Braden Holtby and Jonathan Quick played more), but he’€™s willing to do it again this season.

“I don’€™t think you can put a number on it, but a lot of things depend on how tight the games are and how many games you play in a row and stuff like that,” he said. “Last year, it happened to be 70. If it’€™s going to be like that, it’€™s going to be like that again.”

Boston’s group of star players got smaller this offseason, as the team lost two in Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic. Though the team did add Matt Beleskey and make an interesting swap of Reilly Smith for Jimmy Hayes, the roster is not better now than it was last season. Bounceback seasons are expected from many Bruins, but Rask understands that the B’s are no longer viewed as the powerhouse they once were.

“I think we’€™ve been through so many different scenarios in past years that people put us up on a pedestal and pick us as the favorites,” Rask said. “Maybe now that’€™s not necessarily the case, so we know where we stand when we talk as a team and when we practice and play as a team. We just try to focus on our own thing and not try to worry about what people on the outside say. Our approach has always been that we’€™re doing our thing and we’€™ll do it as good as we can and see where it leads us.”

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

MIDDLETON — Summer Tuukka Rask is different than the one we’€™ll see in the fall, winter and spring.

Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton

MIDDLETON — Summer Tuukka Rask is different than the one we’€™ll see in the fall, winter and spring. Summer Tuukka Rask isn’€™t as fiery, perhaps because he isn’€™t at work.

As such, when he said that he isn’€™t concerned about the state of the Bruins’€™ defense — a group that made his life hard last year before it lost Dougie Hamilton — his outlook should be taken with a grain of salt.

“I don’€™t think there’€™s a reason to worry,” Rask said of Boston’€™s defense Monday at Shawn Thornton‘€™s Putts and Punches for Parkinson’€™s golf tournament. “I haven’€™t been worried.”

Rask knows better than anybody how much the Bruins needed to improve on the back end, as his play had to make up for a rough season on the blueline. Between having to play nearly every time the B’€™s took the ice (70 of 82 games) and facing tougher challenges as a result of the team’€™s defense, Rask was overworked as a result of the team’€™s shortcomings.

So when Boston’€™s defense lost Hamilton, a 22-year-old restricted free agent who wanted out, it would have been understandable for the 2014 Vezina Winner to head to the dairy section of his local grocer and go H.A.M. on some milk crates.

Instead, Rask took an it-is-what-it-is attitude when asked about Hamilton’€™s trade to the Flames.

“Obviously I was surprised,” Rask said. “I think everybody was surprised, but there’€™s always the truth somewhere. I haven’€™t heard what happened, but if he felt like he had to move on, he had to move on.”

While there was something (however small) to the chatter that Hamilton wasn’€™t the most popular guy in the Bruins’€™ dressing room, it would have been hard for Hamilton’€™s teammates to take issue with the way he played. Hamilton was clearly Boston’€™s second-best defenseman behind future Hall of Famer Zdeno Chara and he was in line to eventually take the torch from Chara as the next in a long line of great Bruins blueliners.

Hamilton’€™s fit with his teammates was not a big deal in the Bruins’€™ eyes, which is evidenced by the fact that they tried to re-sign him. Whether it was his teammates, the city or coach Claude Julien, it has not been made clear why Hamilton wanted to leave.

“I thought he felt comfortable with everybody,” Rask said, “but what you feel deep inside is a different thing and he felt like he needed to move on.”

Thornton laughed off a question about the Hamilton situation by saying he didn’€™t care, but he admitted he found the departure to be a bit odd.

“Listen, I’€™m a little surprised,” Thornton said. “I loved Boston, obviously, and for someone to want to get out of it, I don’€™t get it ‘€” especially in the first few years. But it’€™s his world. He had decisions to make and that’€™s the one he made. Hey, hopefully he’€™s happy in Calgary.”

The Bruins received a very underwhelming package of three draft picks in exchange for Hamilton, who will co-star on a terrific blue line in Calgary. The deal did not help the Bruins for 2015-16 at all, as the team used the three picks on prospects Zachary Senyshyn (15th overall), Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson (45th overall) and Jeremy Lauzon (52nd overall).

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Major League Baseball Advanced Media will take over the NHL‘s web operations, apps, streaming video and more in 2016, a source tells WEEI.com’s DJ Bean. The move is expected to be announced on Tuesday.

In addition to running MLB.com and all 30 MLB team sites, MLB Advanced Media runs the websites for Minor League Baseball, the YES Network and SportsNet New York. It also provides the backend infrastructure for WatchESPN, the WWE Network, CBS Sports’ March Madness and HBO Now, among others.

Blog Author: 
WEEI