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.

USA Game Friday to Air Live in All Time Zones

It was just reported by Richard Deitsch of SI on Twitter, and I’ll look to confirm it with NBC myself, but Team USA’s game vs. the winner of Finland/Czech Republic on Friday at 3PM ET, will air live in all time zones on NBC.  This is good news.  More soon.


VANCOUVER – February 24, 2010 – The USA semifinal men’s hockey
game against the winner of the Czech Republic vs. Finland will be
broadcast live in all time zones on NBC this Friday at 3 p.m. ET.

USA vs. Czech Republic/Finland winner:
3 p.m. ET, 2 p.m. CT, 1 p.m. MT, 12 noon PT

NOTE: The Czech Republic vs. Finland is live today on CNBC starting at
10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT

Let’s Do This. Open Thread, Quarterfinals. GO.

USA vs. Switzerland, 3:00 PM ET/PT, NBC
Play by Play:
Mike Emrick
Color: Eddie Olczyk
Inside the Glass: Pierre McGuire

Canada vs. Russia, 7:30 PM ET, CNBC
Play by Play:
Mike Emrick
Color: Eddie Olczyk
Reporter: Joe Micheletti

Czech Republic vs. Finland, 10:00 PM ET, CNBC
Play by Play: Peter Loubardias
Inside the Glass: Ray Ferraro

Slovakia vs. Sweden, Midnight ET, CNBC
Play by Play: Kenny Albert
Color: Joe Micheletti

Two Big Days of Hockey on NBCU

VANCOUVER – February 23, 2010 – All four men’s ice hockey quarterfinals are on NBC and CNBC on Day 13.

Daytime includes coverage of the quarterfinal men’s ice hockey game featuring Team USA.

CNBC has live coverage of the Russia, Finland and Sweden quarterfinal games in men’s ice hockey.

3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Men’s Ice Hockey – Quarterfinal USA vs. TBD (LIVE)

7:00 p.m. – 2:30 a.m.
Men’s Ice Hockey -Quarterfinal Russia vs. TBD (LIVE)
Quarterfinal Finland vs. TBD (LIVE)
Quarterfinal Sweden vs. TBD(LIVE)

Men’s Ice Hockey: Quarterfinal- LIVE coverage of the playoff round continues as Team USA has the first seed and will face the winner of Switzerland and Belarus. A spot in the semifinals is at stake – winner advances, loser is out of medal contention.

Men’s Hockey: A hockey fans’s dream: NBC Daytime has LIVE coverage of Team USA’s quarterfinal game, and CNBC has LIVE coverage of the other three.

Thursday, February 25 (DAY 14)

2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Women’s Ice Hockey -Bronze Medal Game, Finland vs. Sweden (LIVE)

6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Women’s Ice Hockey -Gold Medal Game, USA vs. Canada (LIVE)

Women’s Ice Hockey: Gold Medal Final – One of the great rivalries in winter sports is expected to play out LIVE in front of an electric crowd in the Gold Medal Final, with Team USA, coached by 1980 “Miracle on Ice” hero Mark Johnson, against two-time defending Olympic gold medalist Canada, in one of the most anticipated events for host country fans. Also, LIVE coverage of the bronze medal game between Finland and Sweden.

Verbal Highlights From NBC’s Previous Night of Hockey


Bill Patrick (Host), Jeremy Roenick (Studio Analyst), Mike Milbury (Studio Analyst), Mike Emrick (Play-by-Play), Eddie Olczyk (Analyst), Pierre McGuire (Reporter)
Switzerland: 3 Belarus: 2

MILBURY ON TEAM SWITZERLAND: “The Swiss have been a very good team in this tournament, gave the U.S. all they could handle.”

MCGUIRE ON TEAM SWITZERLAND: “There’s no lack of composure on the Swiss bench. They’re a team that’s got a lot of veteran experience.”

OLCZYK ON SWITZERLAND GOALTENDING AGAINST TEAM USA: “Jonas Hiller, he’s going to have to be great. He’s going to have to pull a Ryan Miller.If Jonas Hiller is not great, then the Americans will torch Switzerland.

OLCZYK ON THE TOURNAMENT: “The road for Canada is not easy. They have to win four games in six nights if they want to win gold. For the Americans, it’s a little easier, especially in light of the match ups they could potentially have.”

TEAM USA’S RYAN CALLAHAN ON PLAYING SWITZERLAND IN THE QUARTERFINAL: “Anytime you see a team the second time, you know their tendencies. You know they’re going to be a team that goes straight ahead at you and pressures us a lot. They have a lot of speed. We have to limit our turnovers. I think that was the biggest thing in the first game, we had a lot of turnovers against them and they countered on us pretty well. It’s going to be a tough game.”

On CNBC, Canada rebounded from its loss to the US on Sunday by defeating Germany, 8-2, in men’s hockey.

CNBC, Men’s Ice Hockey Elimination Round Game:
Canada 8 vs. Germany 2
Bill Patrick (Host), Mike Milbury (Studio Analyst), Jeremy Roenick (Studio Analyst), Mike Emrick (Play-By-Play), Eddie Olczyk (Analyst), Joe Micheletti (Reporter)

Roenick on an experienced Team Canada: “You can tell that the leadership and as many captains as they have, they continue to work well together and is probably the key to why this team played so well tonight.”

Roenick on pairing Crosby with Iginla: “It’s really, really important that Sidney Crosby plays with a super sniper like Iginla. Both of them have been very, very good. They’ve both prospered.”

Canada’s Roberto Luongo on the tournament: “It’s really exciting to play here in front of the fans. Obviously it was a big game for us, and I’m sure tomorrow will be a little louder.”

“Definitely is a huge one tomorrow.”

Olczyk on a goal shot straight through the net by Canada’s Shea Weber: “An absolute laser.”

Canada’s Shea Weber on the tournament: “We are still in it. We are very much alive.”

Roenick on Germany: “Driving me insane. I am bored to death. I can’t believe there is a reason why the German team continues to lose hockey games. Their defensive zone coverage is so passive.”

“You are playing with fire if you do not play a physical brand of defense.”

NBC: We’ll Air USA-Switzerland in it’s Entirety

There’s been some fear, mostly started over at Kukla’s Korner, about whether or not NBC will air all of USA-Switzerland in the men’s hockey quarterfinals, as the game as been scheduled for a 3:00-5:00 PM ET timeslot.

Well, frankly I felt it was irrational to think that they wouldn’t from the start, but I understand hockey fans being mistrusting of the network after some of the things that have happened during the tournament.

A representative from NBC told Puck the Media last night that the game will be aired in it’s entirety.  I worded the question specifically to include potential overtime and shootouts.  So our long, national nightmare is over.  Now go cause a stir about the Gold Medal Game being scheduled for tape delay on the west coast.