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Bob Miller ready for Kings' opener

October 7, 2010 |  6:01 pm

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It wouldn’t be an official season for the Kings without TV voice Bob Miller doing the play by play.

And Miller, who had hoped to be ready for the season opener after undergoing a surgical procedure last month, confirmed Thursday that he will be on the air in Vancouver Saturday when the Kings begin the season against the Canucks.

“I still have a little soreness from the incisions but nothing that’s bad,” said Miller, who will be starting his 38th season and will turn 72 next Tuesday.

“I’m really looking forward to the season, I think with more eagerness this year because I’m hearing so many people, so many radio, TV, magazine publications, saying the Kings could possibly win the Pacific Division and finish high overall in the league. Everyone’s saying the Kings are on the rise.

“It’s exciting not only for me but for fans. There were years there wasn’t that feeling going into the season. This season there’s a lot of excitement. We’re all excited, I think, to see what’s going to happen.”

Miller and color analyst Jim Fox will begin their 21st season together, “longer than any partner I’ve had,” Miller said. “He’s an ex-player who diligently works at his job. A lot of ex-players just expect to walk in and talk. Jim is diligent in his preparation.”

One of Miller’s previous partners, Dan Avey, died in August. They worked together three years, early in Miller’s tenure with the Kings.

“He was a lifesaver for me,” Miller said. “He had been around the league and doing color and he knew his way around and knew where the press boxes were. He showed me around and introduced me to new people around the league. I appreciated his help.”

Miller also said he never imagined he’d last so long in the job, especially while working for demanding, hands-on owner Jack Kent Cooke.

“About a month into the job I was driving down the 405 and almost ready to say, ‘I can’t do this job,’ ” Miller said. “I remember thinking I was going to tell him, ‘I’ll do the job the best I can and if it’s not good enough, I’ll quit.’ You can’t do play by play of a fast sport like hockey and hesitate because you’re worrying about pleasing Mr. Cooke.

“I was serious about it. Luckily he didn’t call me that night.”

That was lucky for several generations of Kings fans.

--Helene Elliott

Photo: Kings play-by-play broadcaster Bob Miller, right, and color analyst Jim Fox on air during an intermission in a game last season. Credit: David McNew / Los Angeles Times

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