Watching the Kings recent games on TV might not be always easy on the heart, but that hasn’t stopped Bob Miller from having that be part of the rehab process as he is about three weeks removed from quadruple bypass surgery.
The 77-year-old Hockey Hall of Fame play-by-play man, whose chair in the Fox Sports West TV booth has been filled in by another Hockey Hall of Famer, Nick Nickson, said Wednesday from his West Hills home with a voice that was game-quality that “things are progressing” and “I don’t really have any complaints.”
Doctors have advised him that this will be at least a three-month process before he’s able to return to the broadcasting booth — which would take things to end of the regular season and start of the playoffs. Miller would generally not be doing playoff games any way since the FSW broadcasts will end and taken over by NBC and NBCSN.
“The Kings have told me not to come back until I feel ready, not to rush anything, and I will take advantage of that,” said Miller, who admits to having general soreness and the last of about 12 pounds from the surgery and rehab.
“If it’s not until next season, that’s what it will be. Right now I don’t believe I could even do one period without feeling exhausted. It’s the littlest things right now that can do that. I’ll get up, get dressed, have breakfast and then need to sleep for an hour.”
Consider what Miller has gone through: A recent annual checkup showed all was good with his heart. Then a calcium test showed there was a problem.
“The normal number for this is 400 — mine was 3,300,” said Miller, and an angogram was done at West Hills Hospital that found 90 percent blockage in four arteries.
Miller and wife, Judy, have been grateful for all the cards and flowers they have received, he said, especially from fans who might preface by saying: “You don’t know me, but I’ve been a Kings’ fan for 35 years and …”
Former Kings’ broadcaster partner Pete Weber, the current play-by-play man for the Nashville Predators, has also been collecting “get well” wishes on tape to send to Miller as he recovers. Some have been used on recent Kings’ telecasts.
“They’ve been such nice sentiments,” said Miller, who even got a gift basket from the Kings’ rival Anaheim Ducks. “From all over the country and from Canada. It’s unbelievable.”
Miller said he wasn’t able to catch the Kings’ 6-2 win at Arizona on Feb. 2, the first game back after the All-Star break — that was the date of his surgery performed at L.A.’s Cedars-Sinai by Dr. Alfredo Trento, who Miller was told has performed more than 7,500 of these procedures and is known as “the Wayne Gretzky of heart surgeons.”
But Miller has been in front of the TV for every game since, including the 9-2 win in Boston on Feb. 9.
“I couldn’t believe that one,” said Miller. “I was in the hospital watching it, and for all the times we’ve gone there and been beaten, I was mad that I wasn’t there to enjoy it.
“Nick and Jimmy (Fox) have been doing a great job on the games and everything seems to be progressing smoothly.”