Ducks forward Corey Perry tunes out opposing fan background noise pretty well. In fact, he embraces the boos when he goes to another arena. But hear a television commentator say something insensitive. That crosses the line.
On Wednesday night’s NBC Sports Network broadcast of the Rangers and Lightning Eastern Conference Final Game 3, NBC commentator Mike Milbury said the best way to stop Perry was to hurt him in some "painful and permanent way" though he did also laud Perry and said he'd want Perry on his team.
And Perry, who generally takes the high road when people take shots at him, was not a fan. Via the LA Times:
“Obviously it’s not something that’s been taken lightly,” Perry said. “If somebody said something about his kid that way, how would he feel? It’s kind of my response. It’s all I’m going to say.”
Asked if he would want an apology Perry replied, “Yeah, sure, but it is what it is.”
Also per the Times on possible Milbury discipline:
NBC Sports/NBCSN executive producer Sam Flood issued a statement regarding Milbury's remarks: “I talked to Mike and told him that even though it was a tongue-in-cheek segment that built to a compliment – with Mike saying that he’d want Corey Perry as a teammate – word choice matters, even when attempting to be humorous. Mike understood."
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau did not play into the distraction.
“You know what, I'm taking the cheap way out, but I don't want to get into anything Mike says,” he said in his Thursday morning skate news conference before Game 3. “It's TV. But I'm really happy Corey Perry's on my team.”
Smart job by the one they call ‘Gabby’ by not playing into the outrage. He’s got enough going on with his team. Did Milbury cross the line by saying that? Was he just being tongue n’ cheek? With Milbury, who played in the blood and guts era of the sport, you never know. Plus the "painful and permanent" part just didn't sound right.
When you’re on TV and you say something like that, and not overtly say you’re joking of course it’s going to bite you.
And the fact that one of the NHL’s biggest stars was ticked off by it … say what you want about Perry and his style, but would you want a guy on national TV saying he'd want to put you in pain, even if he did want you on his team?
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