Goodnight and Good Luck – Joe MillerPosted: 15/07/2017
After two days of signings and given that the move was (finally) made official, it’s time to bid farewell to Joe Miller.
What have we lost?
On his day, Miller remains one of the premier Brits outside of the EIHL. Able to score, able to grind, able to play the two way game, able to play powerplay and penalty kill; Joe Miller has the talent to do it all.
The Bison lose that forward with the ability to play across all the lines and do whatever’s required of them. That sort of versatile player with that high end talent is going to be vital not only in the NIHL 1 South but in those cup games and the business end during any national playoff scenario with a team from the north.
There is a difference between intent and end product and we’ll get to that in a bit but when Miller was on, then Miller was really on.
Where has he gone?
Miller has signed on to return to Telford Tigers in NIHL 1 North for next season.
Who replaces him?
In true Doug Sheppard fashion, I don’t think that there’s a direct like for like replacement for Miller but I think people cover some his functions. Of the players that are on the roster in the forward ranks I think Ashley Jackson covers some of the desired offensive output in the first instance and Grant Rounding covers some of the grind line/secondary scoring desires that Sheppard will have but there’s some unknown factors still at play. Whilst officially the Bison have 9 forwards on the roster at the moment, two of them are Hallam Wilson and Paul Petts who we know are not going to be playing every game so that’s 7 forwards in actuality to work with. I don’t believe that the Bison will head into the season with 9 forwards (I reckon 10, 11 at a push) so we might see someone come in who is a more natural fit.
It is not hyperbole to say that Joe Miller didn’t have a great 2016/17 season. Injured during his time in Telford so he was limited to just 4 points in 16 games followed by the money issues for the Tigers which led to his move back to Hampshire. When he arrived, there were injury issues again which gave 8 points in 17 games before a really good run in the playoffs. Last season was the lowest number of games that Miller has ever played in a season and his lowest ever EPIHL points total. The only time he got fewer points in a season was playing on Manchester Phoenix’s 3rd line in the Elite League and I’ll let you make your own jokes about Tony Hand’s usage of his third line.
This happens to the best players. They have periods of injury and it affects their stats. Miller, now 32, feels like he’s been around forever and probability dictated that he’d have at least one really injury affected season. Sadly this one saw it rain then pour unfortunate issues for him.
This doesn’t take away from the fact that Joe Miller is still a really good hockey player when he’s fit; a quick squint at Elite Prospects or just watching him will tell you that. If Miller finds fitness this summer and is paired with suitable linemates then Telford will be a force to be reckoned with in the new NIHL 1 North.
We could have the last word but Joe himself sent us a brief statement that he wanted included so we’ll leave it to him.
“Firstly, I would like to thank the fans for all the support on and off the ice during both spells at Basingstoke. Also to the players and staff last season for making me so welcome half way through the year. Basingstoke was a special place to play for me and where I met my wife Jaime and a great friend in Harry Robinson. Thank you to those for their private messages of support and I’m sure we’ll see you at the business end of the year! Goodnight and good luck.”