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Bruins Notebook

Kevan Miller fills gap on Bruins’ blue line

Bruins players and coaches gather around Claude Julien (left) during practice Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena.john tlumacki/globe staff/Boston Globe

WILMINGTON — After a full day off Sunday and an optional skate Monday, the Bruins got back to work during a full practice at Ristuccia Arena Tuesday, but two defensemen were missing.

Neither Adam McQuaid nor Torey Krug was on the ice. According to coach Claude Julien, the two are day to day, with McQuaid having aggravated a lower-body injury.

“When he came back, he was 100 percent and he [aggravated] it a little bit,” said Julien. “With Torey, when I say day to day, it’s more managing a situation because of the amount of days off we have. We hope to see him back on the ice tomorrow or for Thursday’s game [in Montreal].’’


Kevan Miller was recalled from Providence on an emergency basis Monday night for the second time this season and joined the team at Tuesday’s practice.

Miller impressed the coaching staff during a three-game stint that began Nov. 21 when he made his NHL debut against the Blues at TD Garden. Julien said if Miller is needed, there is plenty of confidence in him.

“We’re a group of people who don’t care where you’re drafted, whether you’re a first-rounder or a free agent or whatever,’’ said Julien. “If you are deserving of playing, deserving of a call-up, you’re going to get it. If you’re deserving of more ice time, you’re going to get it.

“It all revolves around your play. He’s played well enough to earn that ice time.’’

Miller, who played with Providence at Norfolk Friday and Saturday and a third game at Hershey Sunday , was happy to be back.

“I’m just here ready to go in case I get the call,’’ said Miller, a University of Vermont product who has one goal and two assists in 15 AHL contests this season.

“I learned a ton. Every day I kind of learned something new from the guys up here. They helped me out a lot. There were a number of things I could bring down to Providence. I’m just trying to work on those and be ready.’’


Miller, 26, said it helped that he had former Providence teammate Matt Bartkowski to help him acclimate to the NHL.

“I’m fortunate that the system down in Providence is pretty much the same up here, so it was a good transition,’’ said Miller.

Miller said he was logging quite a few minutes in the AHL, mostly at even strength and killing penalties. It helped to go back down and continue playing rather remain in Boston and sit out.

“Games always help, especially against those types of teams,’’ said Miller. “Norfolk and Hershey are heavy teams. My legs were a little [like] Jell-o yesterday, but they feel good today.’’

Better this year

Second-year defenseman Dougie Hamilton has been gaining confidence and experience, and it’s showing in his game. In 25 games this season, Hamilton is averaging 19 minutes, 39 seconds of ice time and has three goals and four assists .

“Defensively, he’s getting a little bit better all the time,’’ said Julien. “Offensively, he’s making some good decisions there, even under pressure situations and managing the puck and making the right moves.

“I think his confidence level on the offensive side is really good right now and improving on the defensive side.’’

Hamilton said he feels more at ease this season than last because there was no lockout to shorten the season and there was a full training camp, as opposed to an abridged one.


“I think I’ve gotten better as a hockey player,’’ said Hamilton. “I’m stronger and better skilled.

“Obviously, I’m more comfortable in the city and in the condo and around the team and the dressing room. I think it’s sometimes hard when you come in right away, and last year was such a short camp. You don’t really have time to meet guys and develop friendships.

“It’s been a lot better this year coming here with friends, instead of coming here not knowing anyone.’’

In a giving mood

Following practice, the entire team went to Target in Everett for its annual Holiday Toy Shopping event, presented by Wynn Everett. The toys they picked up will be delivered to hospitals and charities for more than 600 children who are unable to celebrate the holidays at home. The delivery will take place Dec. 20 and include stops at Boston Children’s Hospital, Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center, MassGeneral Hospital for Children, Shriners Hospital for Children, Franciscan Hospital for Children, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Toys for Tots, and Housing Families.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at marrapese@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @Elle1027.