Miller hopes to show he belongs

BOSTON -- Defenseman Kevan Miller was the last player cut from the team after the Bruins returned from their annual team-building trip to Vermont prior to the start of the season. On Thursday, he'll get his NHL debut, and he's eager to make the most of the opportunity.

“It’s my third year and you’ve just got to believe in the process,” Miller said Thursday morning, after being recalled from the Providence Bruins on Wednesday due to injuries to Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid. “A lot of guys have been in the same situation, so it’s a great feeling [to get called up].

“The Bruins thought it would be better for my development to go down and continue to play games rather than to come up here and not play. I agree with that and it worked for the best.”

The Bruins signed Miller, 26, as a free agent after he completed his collegiate career at the University of Vermont. This is his third season in the organization and he’s impressed the Boston brass, especially during training camp in the fall.

“He’s a big, strong, solid defenseman,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “He moves the puck fairly well, the simple play. His strength is his battle along the walls and in front of the net. He’s a very strong individual. He played a steady game and I thought he got better as camp went on. He was more confident from playing some games at this level. He’s got an opportunity tonight to step in and show that he can play against one of the best teams in the league.”

In Providence, he suffered a concussion and has been limited to 12 games this season.

“I had a good idea that if I just played my game and just paid attention to the little things then I would be in a good spot,” Miller said.

His family traveled from California overnight in order to be here for his NHL debut.

Since Miller played with Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug in Providence, there’s a strong familiarity amongst the young defensive core.

“I’m very excited for him,” Krug said. “He’s a guy I was close with down in Providence. He works so hard and does all the things that are important for a winning team. I’m excited for him to get the opportunity and hopefully he takes advantage of it.”

Krug, who made his NHL debut in the final two games of the 2011-2012 season, played the majority of last season with the P-Bruins before he was recalled for the playoffs, so he knows exactly how Miller is feeling today in the hours before his NHL debut.

“There’s nothing like it,” Krug said. “For 30 minutes to an hour afterwards you’re really excited, calling everyone that’s important and letting them know you got the call. You’re so anxious and it’s hard to take a pregame nap the day of the game. It’s very exciting.”

Miller will be nervous but once the puck drops, it’ll be business as usual.

“The first shift is what’s important,” explained Krug. “Once you get that one out of the way, it’s just another game. The first shift, you’re so excited to throw your leg over the boards and jump out there because you realize you’ve finally made it. After that it’s just a normal game.”