Ex-NHLer Miller ordered to pay $1.6M for career-ending hit


Kevin Miller, a veteran of over 600 NHL contests, has been ordered by a U.S. judge to pay $1.6 million for a devastating hit he delivered while playing in Switzerland 14 years ago.

More, from CBC:

A federal judge in Michigan upheld a $1.6-million US judgment against former Detroit Red Wings forward Kevin Miller for a hit from behind during a 2000 Swiss league game that ended another player’s career.

U.S. District Judge Gordon Quist in Grand Rapids ruled in favour of a Swiss insurance company. The insurer had asked the court to recognize a Swiss court’s $1.1 million judgment, which increased to $1.6 million with interest and costs.

Quist said in Thursday’s ruling that his court was adhering to the Uniform Foreign-Country Judgments Recognition Act.

In November of 2012, a Swiss insurance company, Allianz Suisse Versicherungs-Gesellschaft, sought $1.6 million for the incident between Miller — then a member of HC Davos — and Andrew McKim, formerly of the Zurich Lions.

The skinny, from

The incident leading to the injury occurred during a championship game on Oct. 31, 2000, at Zurcher Hallenstadion. Court documents said Miller “jabbed (McKim) with the elbow on the rear upper side of the body.”

McKim hit his head on the ice.

“When the injured party was ‘checked’ from behind, the doctor contended that – as when a person is run over by a car – the injured party initially suffered a whiplash-type blow to the head from behind, and then a massive strike to the front side of the face on the ice,” a translated Swiss judgment said.

In an IIHF piece documenting the incident, the hit reportedly forced McKim to retire from hockey due to a traumatic brain injury and sprain of the cervical spine.

“Just after the collision, McKim’s cognitive skills were so shaky he could not recall if he even had children,” the article states.

The insurance company originally asked a federal judge to recognize a Swiss court ruling of $1.1 million against Miller (as mentioned above, the dollar figure was later adjusted to $1.6 million due to interest and costs). In turn, Miller filed a lawsuit against the Swiss insurance company that represented Davos, contending the insurer agreed to pay the judgement.

Following the hit on McKim, Miller went on to play two more seasons in Davos before returning to North America for the 2003-04 season. He signed with Detroit and played in 71 games with AHL Grand Rapids that year, making four appearances for the Red Wings.

Miller’s brothers, Kip and Kelly, also played in the NHL for a number of clubs. All three are cousins of Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller and Detroit forward Drew Miller.

Brandon Sutter didn’t have the greatest preseason

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When Brandon Sutter was acquired by the Vancouver Canucks, GM Jim Benning called the 26-year-old a “foundation piece for our group going forward.”

Sutter was quickly signed to a five-year extension worth almost $22 million, more evidence of how highly management thought of the player.

Fast forward to yesterday, when Benning was asked the following question:

“What does it say that you made the trade for Sutter, you called him a ‘foundation’ player, and it took him until the final night of the preseason to find a spot (with the Sedins) on the wing, which isn’t his natural position?”

Here was Benning’s response:

“Well, [head coach Willie Desjardins] wants to try that out, he thinks that’s going to be a good fit. At various times, the Sedins played with wingers with speed, with [Ryan Kesler], who could get in on the forecheck and had a good shot. Sutter brings some of those qualities, too.”

While all that may be true, Sutter was not signed to play the wing; he was brought in to play center, specifically on the second line. He finished the preseason with zero points in five games. And as mentioned, he’ll start the season on the wing, not his natural position.

Meanwhile, youngsters Bo Horvat, 20, and Jared McCann, 19, had outstanding camps and are expected to start the regular season (tonight in Calgary) centering the second and third lines, respectively.

Though Sutter did finish the preseason with 12 shots on goal, up there with the most on the Canucks, it’s fair to say he did not look like a “foundation” player.

“I haven’t seen him play his best,” Desjardins said last week. “I see a guy who’s big and a good skater and who understands the game real well, but just hasn’t got that involved.”

Now, we are only talking about the preseason here. New players often take time to get comfortable. Perhaps playing with the Sedins can provide Sutter with some confidence.

“I know he’ll be there and I totally believe that,” said Desjardins.

But it hasn’t been the best start, and if it wasn’t for the encouraging play of the youngsters, it would be a far bigger story in Vancouver.

Related: Canucks roll the dice on rookies, waive Vey and Corrado

Detroit waives Cleary

Daniel Cleary

Dan Cleary‘s time as a Red Wing could soon be over.

Detroit placed the veteran forward on waivers Wednesday afternoon, per TSN. The move comes after Cleary signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $950,000 just weeks before training camp, then proceeded to play in four of Detroit’s exhibition contests, scoring two points.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens now.

At 36, Cleary doesn’t have much left in the tank and is coming off a year in which he played just 17 games. But as we noted back in the summer, this seems to all be part of a larger plan.

From the Free Press:

A situation that bears the handprint of former coach Mike Babcock has put the Wings in the position of being honor-bound to keep Cleary, 36, aboard, even as he is coming off a season that saw him play just 17 games, producing two points.

This debacle began two years ago. The Wings had offered Cleary a three-year, $6.25-million contract before he became unrestricted July 1. He declined. The Wings then signed Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson, leaving little space under the salary cap. Then Cleary didn’t sign with anyone. September rolled around. The Flyers offered Cleary a three-year deal for $8.25 million, but Cleary then decided he wanted to stay in Detroit.

He ended up flying to Traverse City, where the Wings already had begun training camp. He met in a hangar with Holland and Babcock. Holland pointed to a near maxed-out budget. Babcock pushed hard for Cleary to be signed. What resulted was a one-year, $1.75-million deal with the understanding the Wings would take into consideration what Cleary left on the Flyers table.

After playing out that $1.75 million deal, Cleary re-signed in Detroit last summer to a one-year, $1.5 million pact — so, essentially, the Wings are now in final year of an unspoken three-year agreement that’s (sorta) aimed at repaying what got left on the table in Philly.

Got all that?

If Cleary gets through waivers, the Wings could send him to AHL Grand Rapids. Since he signed a one-way deal, he’d get his money regardless.

There’s also the option of Babcock and the Leafs claiming Cleary off waivers — a scenario that, as unlikely as it sounds, has already made the rounds on social media.