February 25, 2010
Mike Milbury and controversy are real good friends. Sometimes he's found using shoes in various ways; or inciting Washington Capitals fans by calling them the "Crapitals"; or mixing it up with bloggers outside of an elevator. To the hockey community, Milbury is that crazy uncle who embarrasses everyone around him whenever he opens his mouth.
Go back to Tuesday night when Milbury described the pep talk German coach Uwe Krupp likely gave to his team while they were getting rolled over by the Canadians:
"He's asking his guys to just basically be fire hydrants and they're getting peed on right now."
Huh. Interesting twist to the old cliche "They're getting spanked". Definitely more creative and much more imaginative. Give him credit for that.
During last night's Canada-Russia postgame, "Mad" Mike used another set of interesting words while describing the disappointing performance of the Russians in their 7-3 loss, including the tiff between Alexander Semin(notes) and Dan Boyle(notes) that ended with a slew foot. Here's the text of the entire exchange with Milbury along with Bill Patrick and Jeremy Roenick(notes):
MILBURY: "Disappointing. Even at the end, the chippiness at the end by Semin. Too little, too late. This was a no-show game. They were intimidated from the beginning, maybe because it was the Olympics, maybe it's in Canada, and maybe, just maybe, it was the physical play of the Canadiadns.
I don't blame Dan Boyle for going right after Semin on this one. Look at Semin trying to get out of the way. I know this is an illegal hit, with just under 3 minutes to go with a four goal lead, that's not what you do, that's not cool, that's not what you do, that's not how you behave JR unless there's a personal grudge or history, I don't blame Boyle for getting right in his face.
I was shocked that it was this onesided and I was really disappointed that these guys came with their, their, Eurotrash game. There was just no heart, no guts, no nothing there to back it up. I mean, Alex Ovechkin(notes) was an average player tonight. I know they're going to bounce back, but to be that poor, and to be that intimidiated physically by the Canadians was really as shock to me."
PATRICK: "Did you really say Eurotrash. Did that come out of your mouth?"
MILBURY: "It did."
PATRICK: "OK, just for the record."
ROENICK: "I heard it! I heard it!"
(Regarding the Boyle-Semin incident: an IIHF spokeman told us tonight that they normally do not review minor penalties in international play and it's unlikely they will do so in this instance, so don't expect Boyle to be suspended for Friday's semifinal.)
So what should NBC do in this case?
As expected, the outrage over Milbury's use of "Eurotrash" began immediately after the word left his lips. The criticism will only continue to grow tomorrow, especially since it's an off day before Friday's semifinals. Should Milbury be punished for his remarks? Puck the Media's Steve Lepore thinks a simple one-day disappearance should be Milbury's penance:
"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."
Everyone knows Milbury's purpose on NBC. He's their attempt at an American Don Cherry, minus the awesome fashion sense and detailed hockey knowledge. Milbury is there to be the hated guy and sometimes, as we've seen in Cherry's case on Hockey Night in Canada, opinions can go over the line. In this situation, Milbury tried too hard to bash the Russian's no-show in the one of the tournament's most highly anticipated games and went over the line.
NBC may succumb to the criticisms and take Milbury off the air for a day or the rest of the Olympic. Or they'll just continue to do what they've done best the past two weeks and not listen to anyone.
Did you catch the look on Jeremy Roenick's face? Is there ever a time that that guy is caught speechless?