The news officially broke on Monday that former Boston Bruins defensemen and head coach Mike Milbury won’t be returning to the NBC Sports broadcasting team for the upcoming 2021 NHL season.
NBC gave a quick statement as they readied to have excellent, entertaining broadcasters like Brian Boucher, Eddie Olczyk, Pierre McGuire and AJ Mleczko bringing us all the hockey action this season.
NEW: Mike Milbury won’t be back as an NHL analyst for NBC Sports, @FOS has learned.
Statement from NBC Sports:
“We are grateful to Mike for all of his contributions to our coverage for 14 years, but he will not be returning to our NHL announce team. We wish him well.”
— A.J. Perez (@byajperez) January 11, 2021
Mad Mike was sent home from the Toronto bubble last summer after making regrettable on-air comments to the effect that NHL players would better be able to focus on playing without the distractions of any women being allowed in the bubble.
Here’s the exact quote: “Not even any women here to disrupt…your concentration.”
It was ill-advised, inappropriate and positively Neanderthal given how far women have come in the hockey media world, in the game of women’s hockey and in the name of the NHL’s slogan that “Hockey is For Everyone.” Those comments have apparently cost Milbury his gig at NBC and predictably there are people celebrating the news on social media.
Milbury’s out. Like I said earlier, we’re all better off without him on air. https://t.co/PGhDzGTWi5
— Hemal Jhaveri (@hemjhaveri) January 11, 2021
Certainly, one could make the argument that the move was justified given Milbury’s brushes with trouble in the past, but there’s also something to be said for the time-honored act of redemption, and for allowing people to genuinely learn from their mistakes. Clearly this was a massive and offensive mistake, but the lack of forgiveness and second chances from the outrage mobs is a very big societal problem.
It’s unfortunate because Milbury being silenced takes away another entertaining, sometimes bombastic voice in a hockey media world that just got a lot blander without him. Taking away Milbury and Don Cherry just makes hockey broadcasts a little less interesting, and that doesn’t make everybody better off as some in the media would have you believe.
The old school hockey voices are being silenced and that’s not something we should wholeheartedly enjoy. Maybe it’s unavoidable and it’s easy to defend the moves, but there are also downsides when it comes to losing what made the NHL so special in the first place.
Full disclosure: I worked with Milbury at NBC and I like him personally very much. He’s a fun person to talk to about hockey even if he’s chirping your Star Wars shoes, he genuinely loves promoting the sport and there was certainly no bad intent with his comments. It was the kind of joking comment made in locker rooms that was probably passable 10 or 20 years ago in his heyday, but obviously that is no longer the case.
While some in the hockey media world will take a victory lap about somebody like Milbury losing a job that he clearly loved, this humble hockey writer thinks that’s in pretty poor taste. The hockey world is more welcoming to women than it’s ever been before and that is exactly what we should all be striving for.
But the NHL world also got a lot more boring with the news that Milbury will no longer be on NBC’s national hockey broadcast. Both of these things can be absolutely true.
Now, on to the BHN Puck Links:
*Jack Todd asks if this will be the year that we go back in time and see the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens tangling in the Stanley Cup Final. I mean, technically, it could happen. (Montreal Gazette)
*TJ Oshie had a brutal Wild Card Saturday when it comes to the NFL playoffs. (BarDown)
*The Boston Bruins have whittled down to their regular season group as NHL rosters need to be in by Tuesday. (Boston Hockey Now)
*Good piece by Travis Yost about Alex Ovechkin’s climb up the NHL’s all-time goal-scoring list getting slowed by things totally out of his control. (TSN)
*Mike Hoffman buried a beauty for the St. Louis Blues in a scrimmage on Sunday night. It’s astounding to me that fancy stats people screamed up and down that the Bruins didn’t need a player like that. The dude had 18 even strength goals last year. Eighteen.
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) January 11, 2021
*It’s not going to work out with the Boston Bruins and free agent D-man Ben Hutton as he signed a PTO with the Anaheim Ducks. Methinks he was waiting to see if there were any injuries in B’s camp where he could have potentially signed a guaranteed deal if there was movement on Boston’s roster. But the B’s are going with the kids on the back end as they have talked about. (SportsNet)
*We stop now for this unforgettable clip of Jumbo Joe Thornton singing Britney Spears.
— SnipeCity420 (@SnipeCity420) January 8, 2021
*For something completely different: Willem Dafoe is supposedly going to be the MCU’s main Norman Osborn. I love this. (We Got This Covered)