Kevan Miller, still on road to recovery, reflects on missing 2019 Cup run: ‘It definitely keeps me awake at night’

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

There are few players that can both dole out — and absorb punishment — quite like Kevan Miller

For a blueliner sanctioned for dropping the gloves throughout his prep and collegiate career, Miller quickly developed a reputation in the following years as one of the more feared skaters in the pro ranks — with the Los Angeles native winning most decisions by way of a heavy hook and a strong chin.

“It kind of came natural to me,” Miller said during a virtual town hall with season-ticket holders on Thursday. “I have an older brother and a younger brother. I'm the middle child. I took my fair share of lickings as a kid growing up. I think that helped.”

Miller’s hard-nosed style of play has left many welts on the opposition over the years, but the 32-year-old defenseman holds a fair share of scars himself over seven years in Boston. 

The latest has kept him out of game action since April 2019. 

During a 2018-19 campaign in which Miller fought through and bounced back from a broken hand, damaged larynx and torn oblique, a vertical fracture to his kneecap proved to be one injury too many — or rather, too severe.

Despite the damage sustained to his kneecap, suffered during Boston’s penultimate game of the regular season against the Wild on April 4, an undeterred Miller remained hopeful for a shot to play in the Stanley Cup Final — traveling down to North Carolina with the rest of the club for Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Hurricanes. 

However, while rehabbing off the ice, Miller suffered a horizontal fracture to the same kneecap — ending his season for good and forcing the rugged defenseman to watch his team fight, and eventually fall, to the Blues over the following weeks.

More than any affliction sustained from a bone-crushing hit or grueling rehab — being on the outside looking in as the Bruins failed to counter a physical St. Louis club stands as the pain that cuts the deepest for Miller in his pro career.