Kevan Miller

Kevan Miller: 'I need to be better'

DJ Bean
November 13, 2015 - 8:26 am
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WILMINGTON -- Call it being overused, call it a player still finding his footing after missing half of last season, but Kevan Miller hasn'€™t gotten off to the start he'd hoped for this season. Miller has played in each of the Bruins'€™ first 15 games after missing the last 26 games of last season due to shoulder surgery. Miller, whose shoulder also kept him out for a stretch earlier in the season, hasn'€™t had a particularly pleasant return to game action. Used frequently as Zdeno Chara'€™s partner, the 27-year-old has struggled both with the puck and without it, occasionally leaving shooters too much space as they enter the offensive zone. Thursday night'€™s game saw him turn in a costly turnover when he coughed the puck up in the defensive zone, leading to a Colorado goal. "It'€™s a work in progress. You want to get better as you go," Miller said of his start to the season. "This is my third year, but this is 100-something games. I'€™m trying to get better every game. There'€™s going to be ups, there'€™s going to be downs and we'€™re going to learn from that, but you want to make sure you'€™re consistent every night. I need to be better." Undoubtedly factoring into Miller'€™s struggles is the fact that he'€™s been used in a bigger role this season, something that perhaps could change once Dennis Seidenberg is up to speed. Miller has been given 20:21 of ice time per night, up over two minutes from last season'€™s 18:02 average. Miller has also had much tougher zone starts than in either of his previous two seasons, as shown in this war-on-ice usage chart showing each of Miller'€™s three NHL seasons. When asked about Miller, Claude Julien'€™s words sounded like they could have been applied to many of his defensemen, as Miller is certainly not alone in making costly errors. "Right now, it'€™s not about how much leeway we give players," he said. "It'€™s about how accountable you want to be as a player. You'€™ve got to work through those kind of things. You'€™ve got to minimize it. If you'€™ve been injured, and you don'€™t think your game is at its best, let'€™s keep it simple. Let'€™s do the right things here and try and make the right decisions. "Again, it'€™s puck management. It doesn'€™t have to be complicated. It just has to be a simple game, and a lot of times, less is more. That'€™s what we have to understand." Now that Seidenberg is back in the lineup, the Bruins could view Miller as a potential option to spent the occasional game in the press box. Joe Morrow has been a healthy scratch the last three games, while Zach Trotman has sat in 12 of 15 games this season. Miller still provides value, however, as he can kill penalties and be used on the left side in a pinch. He'€™ll just need better games ahead of him if he wants to solidify his spot.

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