JT Miller’s impressive 2013 campaign continues to get better.
In January, he won gold with Team USA at the World Juniors. Last week, he played in his first-ever AHL All-Star Game.
And on Tuesday, he’ll play in his first-ever NHL game as his Rangers travel to New Jersey to take on the Devils in a classic rivalry matchup.
“I’m just excited right now, anxious, just ready to play obviously,” Miller told NHL.com. “I’ve been looking forward to it since I was a little kid.
“I just want to go out there and try to get into the game as soon as possible. I think that will help me the most.”
New York’s first-round pick at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Miller was the first American player off the board and has since gone on to represent the U.S. at the last two World Junior tournaments.
In the most recent one, Miller scored nine points in nine games and led the team in assists, with seven.
Rangers head coach John Tortorella has been impressed with how much Miller has matured in a relatively short period of time. The 19-year-old is still in the midst of his first professional season.
“I think his game has really grown,” Tortorella said. “He had a really good [World Junior] tournament there. He has become more consistent in Hartford.”
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.