So Let’s Talk About Milbury and JR Yelling Through Each Other on NHL Live Last Night

So this happened last night. Everybody wrote about it, including Deadspin, Puck Daddy and Barry Melrose Rocks among others. Of course, since I’m the guy who runs the website where we all discuss what happens on the TV, I have to give my two cents, in a segment I’m going to call:

Let’s Try to Talk About These Two Men Talking About a Children’s Game Like Children, Like Adults.

Mike Milbury and Jeremy Roenick’s shouting match last night was something I thought NBC had gotten rid of when Milbury and Pierre McGuire were given a host to moderate their discussion. Tonight, Bill Patrick was the host with Liam McHugh getting the night off. First of all, why is Roenick even on the show? His thing is Overtime, which airs an hour later. Was he brought on simply so Milbury could have someone to argue with? Was he so personally offended by Milbury’s comments that he felt the need to say his piece before all the viewers of the post-game show went to bed? Why did this happen?

First of all, a little credit to Milbury: he tries to responsibly moderate this discussion. He makes an informed case about the concussion problem in the NHL. He shows evidence that hits similar to the one made by Eric Nystrom on Kris Letang during last nights Pittsburgh-Dallas game need to be legislated out of the sport. Then it was Roenick who was doing most of the yelling, Roenick trying to weaken Milbury’s argument by claiming Milbury had “softened” and feminizing his argument to degrade him (he called him “soft” again later on NHL Overtime, when Milbury wasn’t even on set), and by saying he would by Milbury a Shirley Temple. Mike Milbury acted like the adult in this one, but eventually got dragged down to a shouting match with Roenick. If only Keith Jones, standing around like Brick Tamland in the film Anchorman, could’ve just shouted out “Loud Noises!”, it would have completed the scene.

That said, we could all do without Milbury criticizing the coach/in-game interview yet again. I agree with Mad Mike in that it is kind of unnecessary, but saying he would tell Pierre McGuire where he could shove that microphone kind of only works if Dan Bylsma wasn’t kind, courteous and even agreed that the hit wasn’t dirty when Pierre actually talked to him on the bench.

Hockey fans don’t have to put up with the cable news-ification of hockey talk on television. Look, we watched TSN and Sportsnet on Monday for 10 hours and barely got tired. We know it can, and will be done better by other networks. Just because NBC has a monopoly on hockey talk in the states doesn’t mean we can’t just ignore it. We can find it elsewhere. All we need is an internet connection or the NHL Network. We deserve better than two men yelling at each other like children about an issue that may threaten a young man’s (Letang) livelihood via a concussion.  We just don’t need (and don’t want) yelling.

Though, to be fair, the discussion did what it was intended to do: it got attention. It got traded around all the most popular blog outlets, including NBC’s own Pro Hockey Talk. So perhaps I’m wrong here. But I really don’t think so. I think hockey fans truly know what a serious issue this his that threatens our game on a night-by-night basis. I think they want to hear what the “experts” who have been through the wars have to say about hits to the head and concussions. I don’t think they want to hear FOX News or MSNBC-esque talking heads in a box telling each other where they can shove it. This subject deserves better, and the great fans of this league deserve better.

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