Mike Milbury made a comment while the NHL was in its ‘bubble’ at the end of last season. The former Boston Bruins player and coach admitted he went “a step too far.” His words proved deadly to his sports media career with NBC Sports as a commentator as the network has decided not to bring him back this season.
Mike Milbury the hockey player
Mike Milbury played 12 seasons as a defenseman for the Boston Bruins. There was nothing flashy about the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Milbury, who later went on to become the head coach and assistant GM of the Bruins. Milbury remained in hockey as a television commentator.
As a player, Milbury was known for his aggressive style of play. He was a big factor in getting the Bruins to consecutive Stanley Cup appearances in 1977 and 1978. Only once did he have double-digit goals in his NFL career, collecting 10 during the 1979-80 season.
During the 1978-79 season, Milbury racked up a career-high 34 assists. Milbury was known for the ‘shoe incident’ in December of 1979 following a game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. During a fight on the ice, a fan grabbed the stick of Boston’s Stan Jonathan and then cut Jonathan’s neck with a program. A few Boston players, including Milbury, went into the stands. Milbury caught the fan, removed a shoe, and slapped the fan with the sole. He was suspended six games.
Milbury remained in the game of hockey
After his playing days were over, Mike Milbury became the head coach of the Boston Bruins during the 1989-90 season. In his first year, Milbury guided the Bruins to an appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Bruins claimed the Presidents Trophy that season after finishing with the most points in the regular season.
Milbury also coached at Boston College and the New York Islanders. He also did some front-office work in Boston and New York. He was named the general manager of the Islanders three months after he was named the head coach of the team in 1995. In 1997, he stepped down from his coaching duties.
Milbury then got into broadcasting during the 2007-08 season. Milbury served as the color commentator for the “NHL on NBC.” He also had done some work for NESN, Versus, and Canada’s TSN. He had been with NBC for the last 14 years.
NBC announces Milbury will not return
During his broadcasting career, Mike Milbury had been flagged several times for questionable or inappropriate comments. His latest one apparently proved deadly to his career as NBC announced Monday that Milbury would not be returning. His most recent comment occurred last season when the teams were confined to a ‘bubble’ and no fans were allowed in the arenas.
Milbury’s booth partner, analyst Brian Boucher, was speaking about playing in the bubble. “If you think about it, it’s a terrific environment with regard to — if you enjoy playing and enjoy being with your teammates for long periods of time, it’s a perfect place,” Boucher said, according to ESPN. “Not even any women here to disrupt your concentration,” Milbury responded.
Milbury, in a statement, apologized for the comment, saying, “It was not my intention to disrespect anyone. I was trying to be irreverent and took it a step too far. It was a regrettable mistake that I take seriously.” NBC has since decided not to bring Milbury back for this season. “We are grateful to Mike for all of his contributions to our coverage for 14 years,” NBC Sports said in a statement. “But he will not be returning to our NHL announce team. We wish him well.”