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Accused puck-thieving linesman Steve Miller set to return to duty

Apr 30, 2011, 11:44 PM EDT

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Steve Miller, David Koci AP

Until recently, most hockey fans had never heard of linesman Steve Miller. Miller came to prominence recently after it had come out that he may be the man responsible for the missing Stanley Cup-winning puck from last season’s final.

With stories and evidence piling up that shows that Miller very well might be the guy responsible for the missing vulcanized rubber that the Hockey Hall of Fame would like to have, the NHL moved to take Miller off duty for the first round of the playoffs.

Now with the second round under way and games going on and the NHL in need of their best guys, Miller’s detention is apparently over with and he’s set to return to duty on Tuesday in Tampa Bay.

Wayne Drehs of ESPN.com reports that Miller’s return brings a bit of a soap opera to this year’s playoffs. NHL senior vice president of public relations Gary Meagher says that whatever investigation the NHL did into the matter is now “closed.”

Meagher said Friday that the decision was made to temporarily remove Miller from the playoffs to avoid any potential distractions. Meagher said Miller ws not suspended, and that the league stands behind him.

“There are lots of questions out there and to have any potential distraction while our playoffs are going on is not fair,” Meagher said Friday.

It’s not fair to the playoffs for sure, but it sure sounds like the NHL isn’t done snooping around into this case. At the very least, it seems like Miller is clear of any wrongdoing for the moment. It’s either that or the NHL is letting him go back about his job so the bubbling media circus around this story doesn’t have any fodder to run with if he’s not working.

It bears keeping an eye on and surely more cameras will be trained on him so if he’s got any inclinations to take pucks again, he should consider that Big Brother is watching.

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