NHL News: Cam Neely addresses signing fiasco, Matthew Tkachuk suspended, and more

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The Boston Bruins parted ways with defenseman Mitchell Miller on Sunday night following a slew of backlash stemming from multiple incidents in which Miller bullied a classmate as a teenager.

Miller had signed an entry-level contract with the Bruins on Friday, but Boston quickly received criticism for the move because the 20-year-old defenseman had bullied a disabled classmate when he was 14 years old, often using racial slurs and physical violence toward the victim.

Due to his actions, Miller was convicted of bullying as a juvenile in 2016 in Ohio.

Bruins part ways with Miller

“The decision to sign this young man was made after careful consideration of the facts as we were aware of them: that at 14-years-old he made a poor decision that led to a juvenile conviction,” Bruins president Cam Neely said in a statement on Sunday. “We understood this to be an isolated incident and that he had taken meaningful action to reform and was committed to ongoing personal development. Based on that understanding we offered him a contract.

“Based on new information, we believe it is the best decision at this time to rescind the opportunity for Mitchell Miller to represent the Boston Bruins,” Neely said. “We hope that he continues to work with professionals and programs to further his education and personal growth.”

Neely, who didn’t specify what the new information was, also said in the statement that the Bruins’ organization would take a deeper look at how it screens potential signees.

“We owe it to our fans, players, staff, partners and community to make sure that our practices and protocols are in keeping with the ethos that we demand from ourselves and as an organization,” Neely said. “As such, we will be reevaluating our internal processes for vetting individuals who wish to earn the privilege of playing in the National Hockey League for the Boston Bruins.”

The move to part ways with Miller comes just one day after NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the Bruins did not speak with the league before signing Miller, and that Miller would not be eligible to play in the NHL.

Neely addressed the media today and vowed to get to the bottom of the team’s vetting process.

Matthew Tkachuk suspended

matthew tkachuk
Oct 25, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Florida Panthers left wing Matthew Tkachuk (19) warms up before the game against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Panthers forward Matthew Tkachuk was suspended for 2 games after high-sticking Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick. He will forfeit $102,702.70 per the CBA and the money will go to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Tkachuk poked Quick in the eye in the closing seconds of the Kings’ 5-4 home win on Saturday. He drew a two-minute penalty for interference and a 10-minute game misconduct.

“Hopefully the league takes a look at it, but it’s a dirty play,” Kings defenseman Matt Roy said after the game.

It wasn’t the first run-in between Tkachuk and Quick. With 2:11 left in the second period, a goal by Tkachuk was disallowed because he made contact with Quick’s head.

Tkachuk, 24, leads the Panthers with 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) and 30 penalty minutes through 12 games in his first season with Florida.

Josh Anderson suspended 2 games

Montreal Canadiens forward Josh Anderson was suspended by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for 2 games after boarding Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

Anderson was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the dangerous hit at the 10:08 mark of the third period in the Golden Knights’ 6-4 win on Saturday.

Pietrangelo went headfirst into the boards and sustained a bloody nose. In the ensuing scrum, Pietrangelo and Vegas teammate Alec Martinez were whistled for roughing Anderson.

Anderson, 28, has five points (three goals, two assists) and 19 penalty minutes through 12 games. He is in his third season with Montreal following six seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Capitals claim Nicola Aube-Kubel

The Washington Capitals claimed forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

A 2022 Stanley Cup winner with the Colorado Avalanche, Aube-Kubel played in six games with Toronto this season.

The 26-year-old Alberta native has 50 points (21 goals, 29 assists) in 175 career games with the Philadelphia Flyers, Avalanche and Maple Leafs.

The Flyers drafted Aube-Kubel in the second round in 2014. Claimed off waivers by Colorado in November 2021, he skated in 14 playoff games last season and posted a plus-2 rating with four penalty minutes.

He signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Maple Leafs in July.

–Field Level Media