Longtime NBC Sports analyst Mike Milbury is now on social media.
“Ready to defend myself in the Twittersphere,” Milbury wrote, while threateningly holding a shoe over his head. “Let’s have some fun!”
Alex Ovechkin broke another record with his hat trick against the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night. During a segment on NBC Sports afterward, Mike Milbury said he thinks Ovechkin “is the best goal scorer that ever laced on a pair of skates.”
Mike Milbury actually said that. Yes, that Mike Milbury.
The same guy who “just doesn’t like Russians.” The same guy who had the Blue Jackets winning the 2018 Stanley Cup. The same guy who said Ovechkin was “just a one-dimensional player” because all he does is score goals.
The video of the segment, the transcript of Milbury’s Ovechkin comments, and sweet sweet long-overdue justice are below.
With a win on Monday, the Washington Capitals brought their first-round series with the Columbus Blue Jackets to a close and advanced to face the Penguins in Round Two.
The Capitals’ comeback had another, unexpected, side effect: It ravaged the Stanley Cup bracket of NBC Sports’ Mike Milbury.
After years of fans calling for his firing, NBCSN analyst Mike Milbury will be stepping into a bigger role this fall. With lead broadcast analyst Ed Olczyk on medical leave due to cancer, Milbury will be taking his place in the broadcast booth during national telecasts. NBC’s number one hockey broadcasting team will now include Milbury, Hall of Fame play-by-play man Mike Emrick, and sideline reporter Pierre McGuire.
According to Kevin Allen of USA TODAY Sports, the controversial Milbury is unsure how long this new role will last, but he’s received a schedule through New Year’s Day.
Mike Milbury is a lightning rod for controversy and, Sunday night after the Penguins won the Stanley Cup, a Predators fan let out his frustration towards the wildly unpopular NBC analyst.
Warning: there is a lot of cursing in this video.
Monday morning, Barry Trotz put on a figurative tinfoil hat and said one of the most wacky things he’s ever said as Caps coach. Frustrated by the length of Brooks Orpik’s three-game suspension, Trotz suggested the NHL favors the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“I’m disappointed, but I’m not surprised based on who we’re playing and all that,” Trotz said.
Later when asked to clarify, Trotz replied, “Take it for whatever you want.”
I, a rational human being, do not believe the NHL favors one team over another. But the problem is the optics. And the main provider of said optics is NBC, the NHL’s American TV partner.
Over the years, NBC’s analysis during intermission can basically be summed up like this: yell first, think later. Whether it’s Jeremy Roenick calling Alex Ovechkin a bad defensive player due to plus-minus or Keith Jones pushing tired narratives, NBC’s hockey analysis can seem more about settling scores than communicating constructive information. (It’s basically the opposite of CSN Mid-Atlantic’s coverage of Caps games.)
Mike Milbury, whose personality wavers from patient to cranky night to night, is the kingpin. During the first intermission of Game Two, Grumpy Milbury launched into an angry screed about Brooks Orpik’s headshot on Olli Maatta. The Orpik hit was bad, don’t get me wrong, but Milbury’s analysis still somehow managed to be over-the-top.
Sunday afternoon, the NHL suspended Brooks Orpik three games for his head shot of Olli Maatta. Monday after the Capitals morning skate, Tom Wilson defended his teammate and also criticized NBC’s Mike Milbury.
During the first intermission of Game Two, Milbury, who has always been a lightning rod for controversy, called Orpik a “predator,” implying that the Caps defenseman was looking to injure Maatta. Orpik and Maatta are friends off the ice.
Hi, my name is Ian Oland. I’m driving this here Capitals bandwagon. This week, we’ve travelled all over North America. We’ve had great success picking up many new friends, but I must admit my patience is wearing thin. Trebek keeps drinking liquor and challenging everyone to a shirtless bare-knuckle brawl. One of the oxen has died and several of our hockey oddsmakers have typhoid fever.
But no matter. As we press forward on Lord Stanley’s trail, we are scheduled to pick up four fine gentlemen on this here Capitals game day. First are the notorious rabble rousers from the NBCSN channel: Mr. Mike Milbury and Mr. Keith Jones.
On Tuesday night, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin had a normal Ovi night: he scored two goals and dangled the puck through a dude’s legs. In a new twist, he also dropped down to his knees in his first period and blocked a shot off his skate.
Ovi skated off the ice gingerly. Two seasons ago, he broke his foot on a similar play.
Photo credit: Patrick McDermott
Mike Milbury doesn’t think highly of Alex Ovechkin. That was clear when the failed Islanders GM delivered his frothing rant about Ovi during last week’s Caps-Flyers game. He said Ovechkin acted “like a baby,” and should instead “act like a man for god’s sake.” He said it was “an awful display of hockey” by Ovechkin. He said Ovechkin “should be ashamed of himself.”
Now it seems Ovi has a few thoughts of his own.
“I can talk about his work as an Islanders general manager,” the Caps captain told Slava Malamud of Sport Express. “I could care less about his opinion.”
Ovi made his comments after Washington’s thrilling overtime win over Boston, in which he crashed into Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask approximately 83 times. That game ended with a highlight-reel goal by Eric Fehr in overtime, a comeback that could have been spurred on by Ovechkin’s intermission comments to the team with the Caps down 3-0 after one period.
Below, check out Fedor Fedin’s translation of Ovechkin’s interview with Sport Express.
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