On Friday, the NHL released a brief statement saying that the league “condemns the insensitive and insulting comment” made by NHL on NBC analyst Mike Milbury during Thursday night’s Islanders-Capitals game. This has now led to Milbury stepping away from NBC’s coverage for the remainder of this year’s playoffs. Here’s what the NHL put out Friday:
A statement from the National Hockey League. pic.twitter.com/YCOTcoaK5l
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) August 21, 2020
Milbury made his comment near the end of the game on Thursday night. When talking about the NHL’s bubble and the focus players have on playing games, Milbury said, “it’s the perfect place. Not even any woman here to distract you.”
(apologies for the quality of the video)
It’s 2020, and yet… ? pic.twitter.com/d74TMlhkkP
— Alison (@AlisonL) August 21, 2020
NBC said they were “disappointed” with Milbury’s comments and addressed it with him.
Milbury apologized for what he said, claiming he was “trying to be irreverent and took it a step too far.”
NBC Sports says, “We’re disappointed about Mike’s insensitive comment and have addressed it with him.”
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) August 21, 2020
On Friday, ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski reported that he heard Milbury wouldn’t be part of NBC’s coverage of Friday night’s Game 6 matchup between the Flyers and Canadiens.
I had heard that Mike Milbury is not going to be part of the Flyers/Habs broadcast tonight, before this was sent out by the League. I think this seals it. https://t.co/cbOtxGBWLe
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) August 21, 2020
This isn’t even close to the first time that Milbury has gotten hockey fans riled up. Early in 2016, a petition to have Milbury removed from NBC’s NHL coverage attracted nearly 20,000 signatures. Later that year, his comments on hits and concussions received scorn across the hockey universe, even from other broadcasters. He upset Red Wings fans by calling Joe Louis Arena a dump, and received widespread ire from Predators fans in Nashville during the 2017 Stanley Cup Final. Hell, this isn’t even the first time over the last week Milbury has gotten under the sin of hockey fans: his comments about Tuukka Rask opting out of the rest of the season also were roundly criticized.
You know the NHL playoffs are back in full swing when Mike Milbury is saying dumb shit. No one should be all that surprised that Milbury’s comment immediately backfired on him. At this point, it’s par for the course. If anything, I’m shocked that it took until mid-August for Milbury to piss hockey fans off.
Saturday then saw Milbury “sent home” by NBC Sports, with Bruce Arthur of The Toronto Star breaking that news:
Hearing now that Mike Milbury has indeed been sent home by NBC Sports. It was the only call. Go read @KatieJStrang’s goddamn masterpiece on the subject.
— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) August 22, 2020
And here’s a NBC statement on that that was issued later Saturday, via Helene Elliott of The Los Angeles Times:
MIKE MILBURY: “In light of the attention caused by my recent remark, I have decided to step away from my role at NBC Sports for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I do not want my presence to interfere with the athletes as they try to win the greatest trophy in sports.”
— Helene Elliott (@helenenothelen) August 22, 2020