Mike Milbury Should Probably Find Himself a Safehouse or a Relative Close By. Lay Low For a While.

You’ve all probably heard about what I’m about to discuss with you, but just in case you missed it, here’s the exchange between the NBC Olympic hockey studio team, featuring analysts Mike Milbury and Jeremy Roenick and host Bill Patrick.  The quotage is courtesy of the Star-Ledger:

“I’m was really disappointed that these guys came with their, their Eurotrash game,” Milbury said, referring to the Russians. “It was just no heart, no guts, no nothing there to back it up.”

“Did you really say Eurotrash? Did that come out of your mouth?” NBC hockey host Bill Patrick asked, as former NHL star Jeremy Roenick sat stunned between the two men with his mouth open.

“I heard it, I heard it,” Roenick replied, attempting to bail out the situation by agreeing with Milbury’s overall analysis that the Russian team lacked effort in the one-sided loss.

This blog has been accused once or twice in the comments and by some of my friends on Twitter of being “Pro-NBC”.  This is not the case.  I’m merely pro-NHL advancing itself on TV, and sometimes that forces me to speak out in favor of the television networks that cover it, moreso than other people and writers are willing to.

That said, what Milbury said on tonight’s broadcast does nothing to advance our game whatsoever.  It merely gives the message to people around this country, some of whom will likely watch this tournament and not think about hockey for another four years – or at best until the playoffs – and let them know that the people who represent our sport are little more than the xenophobic, good ol’ boys club run by Milbury and Don Cherry.

The mention of “Eurotrash” is simply offensive.  Not only because it’s insulting to Europeans… but also to geography buffs.  Much of Russia is actually located in Asia.  He’s not only nationalistic and jingoistic, but maybe even a little dim-witted.  Jokes aside, there is simply no place for him to be saying things like this, or calling the Capitals “the Crapitals” or saying the Canadians “peed on” the fire hydrant-Germans.

This whole thing calls to the jury this question: What value is Mike Milbury bringing to the NHL and it’s television partners?

The answer is: at this point, very little.  In a mere week and a half, former player Jeremy Roenick has established more credibility (certainly his career does it naturally), a better rapport and a more engaging, funny tone with the audience watching the sport.  He himself (as well as Bill Patrick) seemed horrified that the words had even come out of his mouth.  The main point is: Milbury wasn’t much more than a walking quote for NBC, and usually a pretty lame one at that.

Now, NBC can’t wipe Mad Mike off the map completely right here.  That’d be overreacting to a single remark, and show NBC as far too hypersensitive, when in the end, it was merely words.  Still, something needs to be done.  My suggestion: Keep Milbury off the air until Sunday’s gold-medal game.  NBC has two days of men’s hockey telecasts left before then, and quietly let Roenick have the show, especially if NBC will use Al Michaels to host the Team USA game again on Friday.

This is probably a good strategy, as on Friday and Saturday there’ll be more of an interest in the actual analysis, whereas during the Gold Medal match it’s a mere brief window dressing.  Two days is probably fair punishment for this.  But while Milbury is gone – if he is, as there’s been no immediate reaction – really study how Jeremy Roenick does on his own, and maybe decide in the off-season that it’s better for NBC – which needs this bad press like a bullet in the head – to replace Milbury completely with Roenick, and leave him to bully Pierre LeBrun and Al Strachan up in Canada for the rest of his broadcasting career.

It’s not that the statement is that offensive, but his commentary has become unnecessary already.  If it’s going to turn into prejudicial jingoism, he might as well not show up at all, because he’s doing the game of hockey and it’s hardcore fans no favors whatsoever.

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About stevelepore
Steve Lepore is the Managing Editor of Puck the Media. His work has been featured in The Hockey News. Feel free to contact him at stevemlepore@gmail.com

25 Responses to Mike Milbury Should Probably Find Himself a Safehouse or a Relative Close By. Lay Low For a While.

  1. Vance says:

    You’re right; since it is pretty split exactly how Milbury meant what he said. It’s a matter semantics, but exactly what NBC’s logic is in having Milbury, a man who’s done nothing but fail in his endeavors, provide a voice to their national broadcast.

    Is it for a PTI-like banter? Only guy who would sign on? Whatever the reason; how embarrassing must it be to be shown up by a guy on the job a whole week?

    This isn’t an original joke (@3rdmanin); but I’ll end it with such. Milbury would know Eurotrash, he traded Roberto Luongo for Oleg Kvasha. Jokes on you Mike.

  2. Derek says:

    Good stuff Steve. Well expressed.

  3. Agreed on bailing on Milbury. Hopefully he was trying to steal some of Roenick’s thunder…that’s the kindest I can say about his ill-chosen use of words. But you’re right, Milbury doesn’t bring anything to the party that Roenick doesn’t; Roenick also brings more charisma.

    If you need two analysts to accommodate a host, Roenick and Darren Pang would be an awesome duo. Panger is a goalie (a nice complement to Roenick), can analyze with the best of them, is more articulate than most and brings plenty of enthusiasm to every job. He and Roenick would be a blast to watch together.

  4. Lee says:

    I only disagree in that I think Milbury should quietly leave now and not return to these Olympic games. We should expect more class out of those broadcasting hockey; especially when much of the audience may be new viewers of the sport. My kids were asking me what he meant – not cool.

  5. Chris says:

    It’s just words..the same words that are used in rec leagues, youth leagues, and many other places.

    just words…this cry baby world is so sensitive.

    he wasn’t even singling anyone out..he was referring to a style of play.

  6. nosferatu says:

    Bill Patrick’s reaction was pretty hilarious to see–I actually think he’s shined during the Olympics, more than on Versus. Whatever it is–not being confined in that dank studio with Jones and Engblom–it’s been a positive.

    And Roenick has been pretty solid, though a bit full of himself at times, especially for being so new to the gig. He definitely has a future. Milbury? Sheesh.

    Actually, just before the Canada-Russia game there was another interesting little exchange between Roenick and Milbury. Patrick asked for game picks; Roenick answered he’d take Canada, 4-3 or something. Milbury responded, “I guess I’ll take Russia then”–in a way that proved it was absolutely not analysis, but simply saying the opposite of whatever Roenick said. Roenick was clearly put off by that response, showing this wasn’t some stupid scripted moment. Just the natural thing to come out of Milbury’s head.

  7. Jim says:

    Steve, You show extremely poor taste yourself here. Mike can be responsible for his own comments. He actually swore on an “After 40 Minutes” segment, live on CBC. You’re going to get crass from Milbury.

    But you don’t need to show your self-loathing colors by attaching Milbury to the poor-tated comment, then pinning him with Don Cherry. Cherry has shown no fear of foreigners; he’s argued in favor of his own countrymen.

    But your political bent, like when you trashed Pat Robertson for no good reason other than because a couple small Nbc affiliates picked him up over the NHL, shows a low level that out-reached Milbury’s comments here.

    Like Milbury, you are in the media too. You should take the medicine you are recommending!

    • stevelepore says:

      Cherry has absolutely shown himself to be xenophobic and jingoistic, sir. Though I’m hardly convinced that comparing the two commentators labels me as “self-loathing”.

      Hating Pat Robertson has nothing to do with me being an independent. It has to do with him being a hateful person who makes money off of people’s narrow-mindedness.

      You’re right. You’re going to get crass with Milbury. The main question of the article is: Do we want his brand of crass?

    • nosferatu says:

      I wouldn’t exactly compare this blog to Milbury; Milbury’s on mainstream television networks, while this blog is on WordPress. Enough said.

      And indeed, while we should expect to get “crass” from Milbury, why do we have to? Why must we have commentators who play to the lowest common denominator? I don’t want to listen to boring guys–like Keith Jones and Brian Engblom on Versus–but at least they’re trying to base their comments on actual hockey action.

  8. Jim says:

    So, let me get this straight: If Mike Milbury were commenting a few weeks back about how some NBC affiliates were pre-empting the NHL in favor of a Pat Robertson special, it would have been OK for him to show a photo-shopped picture of Robertson giving the finger?

    And second, it’s OK to hate some people because their minds are “narrower” than your own and because you feel that they hate others?

    OK, I think I got it. ;)

    • stevelepore says:

      No it wouldn’t have, because he is on network television and you’re not allowed to show the middle finger on network television.

      I, on the other hand, run my own blog with my own standards. If something’s funny and not offensive, and CLEARLY meant to be over the top, it’s fine with me.

      And no, it’s not okay to hate someone because their mind is “narrow”, it’s okay to hate them because of the overwhelming evidence that they are a terrible, terrible person.

      If you don’t like my opinion of Pat Robertson, go read your hockey media news and commentary somewhere else. If it’s really that big a deal-breaker for you.

      • Jim says:

        I’m simply questioning your standards and apparent contradictions. One of the standards you seem to hold thatt I credit you for is printing my responses.

        By your own definition, however, Grapes doesn’t deserve the hate, if that’s what you also feel towards him. Here is someone who does an unbelievable amount of charitable work under the radar, someone who has led a hockey crusade against hitting from behind. My only personal beef with Don Cherry is he’s a Leafs fan.

        You were probably mistreated by someone close who used the name of God, but didn’t live by His way. I understand that. And, of course, Cherry is a man of faith, so the wrath is going to go his way too.

        But, you’re a stand up guy, and while we both agree that Milbury’s comments were over the top, we both need to re-evaluate them with this new information about the Russian comments on which they may have been a response. That’s a problem with hating someone.

        Sometimes we don’t have all the facts as to why a person says or does something.

  9. Chris TMC says:

    MM picked Russia to win before the game, and he was really disappointed by the crap game they played. The game they brought actually DID live up to every negative stereotype.

  10. Mike F says:

    I’ve been hitting mute whenever this blowhard comes on TV for a few years now. He was a failure as a coach, a bigger failure as a GM, and a complete failure as a commentator. He’s an obnoxious bag of douche who cries whenever somebody disagrees with him. If this little flap gets him fired, awesome, but seriously, is anybody really surprised? He’s a complete idiot.

    Also, is somebody seriously DEFENDING Pat Robertson? Wow.

  11. 5w30 says:

    You don’t have to tell any New York area hockey fan what a douche Milbury is .. as a player [shoe incident] and as the man who almost killed the Islanders.

  12. cherno77 says:

    Was it the case that Milbury was responding to this?
    http://english.pravda.ru/sports/games/19-02-2010/112308-vancouver_mutton-0

    This pravda article is xenophobic and jingoistic as well and was so politically charged, it made NPR main news earlier in the week. Milbury would be wise to say it was in a response to this article, which in my mind got the trash throwing started. You can talk about the differences between TV and written media, but still . . . .

  13. kevin says:

    Milbury is right. The Russians were a joke. All talk….no action. As far as I’m concerned “Eurotrash” hockey means empty and phony. Secondly, this game was on some third rate cable channel. Does anyone really think Europe is going to care? Thirdly, its ok to insult white people in this world. Milbury didn’t insult blacks or women or gays so nobody will complain about what he said

  14. I am sorry to say, I’m totally NOT surprised that Milbury stuck his foot in his mouth again. What I AM surprised about is that he’s got a job to begin with. I have never believed his bombastic commentary has ever added a thing to the game; he makes all intelligent hockey fans a little dumber for listening to his dreck. I hope NBC cans him. And don’t worry, I’m not a disgruntled Islanders fan, just a hockey fan. Mike Milbury is an embarrassment to the sport.

  15. Chris S says:

    Milbury is a complete tool on both NBC and CBC. He shoots his mouth off every week on HNIC, but never gets punished. I don’t get it.

  16. emily / @vmhockeybelle says:

    Sorry, but the term “Eurotrash” isn’t an empty or phony comment. What Milbury was TRYING to say may have been that it was an empty game, but adding “Eurotrash” to it was unacceptable. That’s a deplorable anti-European term that is used in North America. Under no terms should that statement ever been used on national TV from a commentator to explain how they played. Not only did he confuse terms by not knowing what he was talking about, but he’s single-handedly personally offended the Russian homeland by his out-of-context phrase. You can say that it was a shallow remark, but if Canada or the US got up to play, can he say that they brought their “white trash” game?

    Sorry, but I think MM crossed the line this time. If you ask me, he shouldn’t be allowed behind that desk again. He’s MUCH worse than Don Cherry, in my opinion. I can tolerate Grapes, and I’m a Caps fan. And why in the world do we need an American Don Cherry anyway? Americans don’t like Cherry anyway. I say boot MM anyway. Who cares if it looks bad on NBC’s part. They need to show that they’ve got some integrity left after the whole Leno/Conan fiasco anyway. If they let MM stay on after such a degrading comment was said, they’ll just prove they have no spine at all.

  17. steve in socal says:

    Milbury is an idiot. Plain and simple. He’s an old school hockey jerk who’s trying to be a U.S. version of Don Cherry. After watching the commentary for several games you could tell J. Roenick was getting irritated with Milbury’s arrogance. I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion, but the NHL isn’t going to get more fans as long is this idiot is making stupid commentary. Couldn’t nbc get someone a little more eloquent on this assignment? By the way, I can’t stand Milbury on the nbc game of the week either. You know, Penguins, Flyers, Penguins, Bruins, Penguins,Penguins,Penguins, Flyers, Flyers, Flyers, eastern, eastern, eastern……

  18. Dr. Jim says:

    Milbury is a pain in the behind sometimes, and I don’t know where he gets off being an expert after what he did to the Islanders — but NBC hired him because he is who he is — and I’m not too fond of that brand of European Hockey, either. Leave him alone. Would you rather have Peter Puck?

  19. Patrick says:

    Milbury is laughable. He shoulld go. So should Pierre. They are both loud and annoying. His comment was not cool and is not in the NBC or Olympic spirit. He is a goon and can be replaced. There are better “colorful” analyst then him.

  20. (Lost my connection as I was leaving this a second ago, so please delete the duplicate but…)

    Someone at NBC must have listened to you, Steve. They just aired a hockey segment on the Olympic Latenight show previewing Friday’s Men’s action. Bill Patrick and Jeremy Roenick reported from the NBC Hockey studio booth. But guess who was missing?
    :)

  21. Josh says:

    I really hope this comment gets removed.

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