The tape around J.T. Miller’s left wrist was heavy, but he was here, with the Rangers, and that’s the only place he wants to be.
Miller took part in the Blueshirts’ morning skate before Friday night’s game against the Penguins at the CONSOL Energy Center, but he was limited in how much he can shoot and is taking the injury day-by-day.
“It just bothered me to point where I didn’t want to hurt the team anymore by making mistakes,” said the 20-year-old Miller, who missed the Rangers dominating 6-1 win over the Penguins on Wednesday at the Garden. “I wasn’t sure about it, I don’t think it was 100 percent, so I just want to make sure I do the right things over the next couple days to get it back to that.”
On Wednesday, the day of the NHL trade deadline, Miller was sent down to the AHL’s Connecticut Whale and then immediately recalled. The reason was because he had to be on the Whale’s roster at that time to be eligible for the AHL playoffs, which start later this month.
Miller never left New York, staying with the team and receiving treatment the whole while, as fellow rookie Chris Kreider left and reported to Hartford. Because teams are limited to four call-ups between the trade deadline and the end of the regular season, Miller counted as one of those – as did defenseman Blake Parlett, who was recalled before being sent to Columbus with fellow minor-league defenseman Steven Delisle and Marian Gaborik for Derick Brassard, John Moore, Derek Dorsett and a sixth-round pick.
Now set to sit out his second game in a row, Miller has had time to think about the mistakes he previously made that caused coach John Tortorella to say he’s “worried” about him.
“I’m going to sit back and watch the games here and give myself a different standpoint,” Miller said. “But at the same time I have to take care of this, day-by-day, and hopefully tomorrow maybe I can shoot the puck a little harder. It necessarily doesn’t hurt, it felt a lot better today, but I don’t want to push it too early.”