Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Random Rangers: Catching Up With Kevin Miller

Rangers have drafted seven players with the last name Miller, including brothers Kevin and Kelly (the third brother, Kip, was picked by Quebec). Kevin was selected in the 10th round of the 1984 draft - 202nd overall - and he went on to have a 620 game NHL career, 103 of them in a Blueshirt. He compiled 57 points before being dealt to Detroit in March of '91 alongside Jim Cummins and Dennis Vial for none other than Joey Kocur and Per Djoos. 

Kevin, who works in finance now, is also the vice president of the Greater Lansing Amateur Hockey Association. The GLAHA is currently holding a fund-raising raffle, with the prizes being several hockey jerseys. Info on that at the bottom but before we get to that, Kevin took some time to answer some e-mailed questions about his career:
SH: You got your start in the Ranger organization, what was that like?
KM: It was Great! The City and the Fans were Awesome. Definitely one of the best places to play in the NHL!!

SH: You were part of a youth movement that saw a number of guys grow in the system and graduate from the IHL to the NHL, including that Mike Richter fellow. There wasn't another real group of home-grown guys like that for 15 or so years and now, the son of one of your teammates (Brad Stepan's boy Derek) is at the forefront of another. What was it like being part of that and what is it that creates classes like that - drafting, coaching, luck, timing?
KM: Whenever you have a group come through with that type of progress it usually comes down to drafting and not trading away your drafts. Of course I was a late draft so the scout either was very good or they got lucky.

SH: You eventually played for the Islanders, why would you do such a thing?
KM: If I had a chance to do that again I would not sign with them!!

SH: Near the end of your playing career you spent three seasons in Davos - Rick Nash is currently killing time during this lockout with that club. Did you enjoy your experience?
KM: It was Great and one of my best hockey playing experiences! The town and the fans are awesome. It is beautiful and I loved playing there.

SH: Aside from the NASCAR-ish, ad-covered sweaters, what differences did you find in Swiss league play as opposed to NHL?
KM: Bigger ice surface so less physical. Very talented and speedy players. Great flow to the games.

SH: And what do you think about NHLers heading overseas during negotiations? I just saw that your cousin Drew (Red Wings forward and brother of Buffalo goaltender Ryan) has already headed to Scotland ...
KM: Guys don't want to sit around so they are taking jobs and going to have fun. It is very sad the owners have taken this position. The game was really growing and this will be another set back!

SH: One of the issues to be addressed in the current CBA battle is NHL participation in the Olympics. You played for Team USA when it was amateurs, what is your opinion - go back to that or stick with the current brand of stars?
KM: If they could have all teams use non professionals then I say go back to the college players, but most Europeans are paid very early!

SH: You went through the 1994 lockout, as a player what was that like?
KM: It was Brutal! Players like the money, but more importantly love to just play!

SH: What differences do you see between that one, 2004's and the current situation?
KM: No Different! No Hockey = CRAP!! 

SH: Honest opinion - when do you think this lockout will end and why? 
KM: Thanksgiving

SH: And I end every interview with a variation of the same question: over your NHL career, how much fun did you have?
KM: It was awesome and would do it all again if I had another chance. The sweat and pain paid off and was really worth it!

Kevin has mentioned the raffle on his twitter account but I borrowed the info from Off-Ice Instigating:

To benefit the Greater Lansing Amateur Hockey Association (GLAHA) the drawing will take place on December 15th (2012) and you DO NOT need to be present to win (so those not in Michigan can still enter). Here are the prizes up for grabs:

1st Prize: Signed Ryan Miller (Sabres) Jersey
2nd Prize: Signed Drew Miller (Red Wings) Jersey
3rd Prize: Michigan State University Jersey (In case you did not know 10 members of the Miller family have played hockey for MSU). All proceeds from this raffle will go to help support youth hockey in the great Lansing area. Checks can be made out to GLAHA and mailed to:

Kevin Miller
1475 Lake Lansing Road
Lansing, MI 48912
Please be sure to include:
Your Phone Number
How Many Tickets for Each Raffle
A Self Addressed Stamped Envelop (so Kevin can send you your raffle tickets)
So good luck!

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