Phil Bourque blasts NBC for ‘appalling’ Roenick, Milbury comments

NBC Sports hockey commentators Mike Milbury and Jeremy Roenick have been both sparked controversy during the conference final.

Roenick infamously said during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final, "If I were Sidney Crosby right now, I'd watch the work ethic that Jonathan Drouin has on a nightly basis." That was, of course, a game that Crosby ended with an overtime goal.

Milbury infamously said during Game 2 of the St. Louis Blues’ series against the San Jose Sharks, in which the Blues took a few bad penalties: “This is so unsatisfying for me as a former coach to watch a player with a slash that doesn’t really hurt him. If you’re going to slash him, crack a bone or something. If you’re going to hit somebody from behind, give him a slight concussion or whatever.”

He walked back that last part as a joke.

Phil Bourque didn’t really find any of it funny.

Bourque played 477 games in the NHL, including 344 with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He’s now an analyst with the Penguins Radio Network, and said he found both comments to be “embarrassing” for NBC and the NHL.

“Appalling is the word that comes to mind. And in talking to other NHLers that aren’t as vocal as I am, they’re voicing the same thing. Maybe they don’t have an avenue to voice their opinions, or they don’t want to put themselves out there. But I really don’t care,” he told the Marek Vs. Wyshynski podcast on Thursday.

“I know what Jeremy Roenick’s trying to say. He’s trying to say, ‘Look, Sid’s gotta be better.’ And I agreed with that part. But to question his work ethic … it’s almost like Jeremy Roenick, at times, doesn’t have that filter in between the brain and the mouth. He just lets it fly. To me, that’s not what makes you a good analyst. You have to have some professionalism when you’re trying to critique or analyze a player.”

Bourque said there’s history between Roenick and Crosby, citing this 2011 rant from Roenick on Crosby’s injuries.

(Remember when the NBC studio show had a pulse?)

“There’s a bit of a history here. If you go back a few years to when Sid was going through his concussions, Jeremy Roenick said some kind of statement about how he was sick and tired of waking up in the morning and seeing Sid on TV talking about this and that and how he should just get back on the ice already. And I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ Does he have the latitude to just kind of vomit at the mouth without any repercussions at all?” said Bourque.

As for Milbury, Bourque took issue with him joking about the Blues efforting to give Sharks players “slight concussions” during Game 2 coverage.

“My jaw almost dropped to the floor. Considering what’s going on right now with the concussion lawsuit right now, I’m sure Gary Bettman and the lawyers at the NHL were thrilled to see their lead analyst, that’s trying to sell the game and promote it being a safer game, would just spew a statement like that without thinking at all," he said.

Bourque summed it up: “I can’t believe this is who is representing our game."

Listen to the full podcast here: