Mike Milbury Should Probably Find Himself a Safehouse or a Relative Close By. Lay Low For a While.
February 24, 2010 25 Comments
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.