The Apology: What to Make of Mike Milbury’s “Remorse”?

(Photo courtesy of NBC Sports)

While Mike Milbury might have been critical of Sidney Crosby and Dan Bylsma, the NBC commentator apologized for his harsh criticisms on Tuesday night, but was it enough?

The short answer is an emphatic, NO! Milbury’s assessment of Sidney Crosby and Dan Bylsma overstepped certain boundaries and was inexcusable, even for a lively personality such as Milbury. Calling Crosby “a little punk” and chastising Dan Bylsma for not engaging Peter Laviolette in a physical fashion was just outright illogical and against the grain of what the NHL is trying to do with initiatives such as “You Can Play”. Mike Milbury might not be known as one of the reserved NHL personalities, but his comments have no place in the modern-day NHL.

Milbury might have caught wind of such sentiments as he issued a statement on Tuesday night:

“I reached out to [Pittsburgh president] David Morehouse and the Penguins about the comments I made yesterday on Philadelphia radio,” Milbury said. “In hindsight, I realize what I said was inappropriate and wrong, and I want to apologize to the Penguins organization and their fans.”

Milbury’s apology was a baby step in the right direction, but the NHL should still try to pursue some sort of action that will prevent Mad Mike from lashing out so often. Even though Sidney Crosby has constantly been in the media spotlight throughout his NHL career, he is the face of hockey in North America and does not deserve such critical comments. At this point in time, Milbury’s apology seems as transparent as a sheet of tracing paper.

(Mike Colligan/THW)

One simply should not try to humiliate an individual because of their problems with a certain injury and Milbury is certainly not above the rule of law. With continued research into CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) and its effects on athletes, there is no room for Milbury’s comments about Crosby’s battle with concussions and concussion-like symptoms.

A simple apology just isn’t enough this time and somebody must step up in this situation. With the NHL evolving and trying to raise their ratings and viewership, the league cannot afford to have individuals such as Milbury tarnishing its efforts and reputation. The NHL is also trying to get rid of dangerous hits and is attempting to promote the longevity of its athletes’ lives in the wake of the deaths of players such as Wade Belak, Derek Boogaard, and Rick Rypien. Suggesting that Crosby is “a little punk” because he responds to the environment around him is also absurd. As a hockey player, Crosby is supposed to generate offense for the Penguins and opponents more than take note of Sid’s skill set and ability. If anything, Sidney Crosby is one of the most targeted players in the NHL as opponents know Sid’s injury history and know that he can be prone to a recurrence of symptoms if he is hit in a certain area.

When asked about the comments, Crosby responded:

“My style is not different than a lot of guys to be honest,” Crosby said. “I think if you’re to look at the way I play, when I play the game I play to create offense and to score goals. If you are to dissect everything and show my responses to certain things sometimes, yeah I do certain things out there. But they’re usually in response to two or three things that have been done prior to that. But you don’t usually see that, you just usually see the response.”

Sidney Crosby has worked hard to get to where he is today, but Milbury simply does not seem to want to acknowledge that minor factoid. Even if Crosby might not be the model player, who is Mike Milbury to criticize him? How can the man who jumped into the stands to beat a fan with his own shoe degrade a player who wants to play the game that he loves and help his team win?

This is obviously not the last time that someone criticizes Sidney Crosby for one thing or another, but this should be the last time that Milbury, or any analyst or announcer, is allowed to blow some steam off in such a fashion.

Before his comments on Crosby, hockey fans might have remembered Milbury’s most recent heated debate with Jeremy Roenick. If not, here’s a bit of a refresher below:

Milbury has always been one to stand up for his point of view, but his routine is getting to be predictable at this point. It is always entertaining to watch someone debate on a topic that they are passionate about, but Mike Milbury seems to be passionate about the wrong things.

This probably isn’t the last that NHL fans have heard of Mike Milbury, but Mad Mike should make a concerted effort on his behalf to help the NHL improve in the modern-day. Milbury must help the sport transcend and increase viewership, but he must do it in an acceptable and collected fashion. It would speak volumes of Milbury’s character if he could temper his reactions and contribute to the NHL in a positive way. After all, Milbury has been around long enough to know the current state of the NHL and that he is paid to be an analyst, not a shock-jockey.

 

Anatoliy Metter

Anatoliy Metter

Toli covers all things related to the New York Islanders for The Hockey Writers. Anyone looking to talk hockey or sports can feel free to contact him on Facebook by searching/messaging Toli Metter and on twitter by searching @ToliMetterTHW.
Anatoliy Metter
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14 Comments

  1. Lay off Mike – Crosby is a punk and takes advantage of his ‘superstar’ status all day, every day.  Unfortumnately in the NHL the players the league wants to heavily promote as the ‘face’ of the game are all punks – Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, Ryan Miller – the list goes on.  All a bunch of whiners.  Mike’s got it right and verybody better be careful – if you criticze him too much he may take one of your shoes off your foot and beat the shit out of you with it.

  2. pghsportsmom says:

    Crosby isn’t the only captain who complains about calls and he certainly isn’t the only player who complains…this crybaby, whinny thing is old. It’s the only thing people can think of to say. Bottom line, if Milbury was truly sorry he should have expressed it to Sid himself. I’m sure Sid hasn’t lost any sleep over it. I’m sure Milbury won’t be walking around casually at Consol during the playoffs…

  3. Could be worse. On Hockey Night in Canada, Ron Maclean essentially did a character assassination of Burrows in January 2010. He showed several clips of Alex (spanning literally years) and essentially called him a liar after the Auger incident.

     It all starts with the quality of officiating or lack there of. If Crosby was called for slashing none of this even happens. Let’s all call for the officials to answer questions after the game like players and coaches do. Maybe then the zebras will understand the word “accountability”.    

  4. This article is garbage first to last. Milbury didn’t say anything untrue about Crosby or Bylsma, both of who are public figures by choice, if they don’t care to face public scrutiny. They can retire.

  5. Forget putting “remorse” in quotations. How about putting “apology” instead. An apology like this means nothing. He isn’t remorseful. He’s apologizing because he is supposed to or because someone that signs his paychecks has suggested that it might be a realllllly good idea.

    This has nothing to do with Sidney Crosby. It’s about Mike Milbury. As someone already commented, he is a jerk and a bully. His great pleasure during broadcasts and interviews comes from complaining and insulting players and organizations or being rude to JR and/or Liam. He peppers his commentary with plenty of sexist comments as well.

    I guess some people like his “schtick.” I do not. I find him to be a gruff and abrasive man whose opinions I do not respect. I don’t get any entertainment value from watching him. I generally find myself changing the channel because I can’t stand him. That’s really a shame because I actually really enjoy the post-game shows when he is not on.

    Sarah below said “Am I the only person offended that this guy is what is representing our sport.?” No Sarah. You most certainly are not the only one. 

    • Anatoliy Metter says:

      Sarah is def. not the only one offended that Milbury is representing our sport. I completely agree with you Esbee, Milbury’s tirades are growing old already. Like I said, his apology is transparent and he isn’t fooling anyone by trying to save face now.

  6. It doesn’t matter if he hates or likes Sidney, when you’re in that position you do not act the way he has. Am I the only person offended that this guy is what is representing our sport? Really, this is what it takes to promote hockey? No wonder why people point and laugh at our sport. They look at Milbury and assume it’s all a big joke. Get rid of Milbury, and get people in there who can show their enthusiasm and love for the sport, and who can also help people learn more about the sport. Hockey is special, and so is it’s fans. We might hate each other at times, but honestly, I have seen so many good things done by groups of fans and organizations alike. That is what should be spotlighted, not this bullcrap.

  7. The question is why is Milbury reaching out to the Penguins organization? He should VERBALLY apologize to Crosby and Bylsma. His apology is transparent. Nice article.

    • Crosby and Bylsma is who he should be reaching out too, not to David Morehouse and the Penguins.

      • Anatoliy Metter says:

        Yup. I think he’s reaching out just to save face. I know that the written word can be interpreted in many ways, but this “regret” does not seem genuine at all.

  8. Stop coddling Crosby.  As an Isles fan I certainly am far from a Milbury supporter.  But what he said isn’t so untrue.  It’s just the way he said it.  Crosby is the first to complain about missed calls, and always complains when he is called.  True or not he comes off as a spoiled, whiny brat.  Mad Mike is a jerk and a bully.  But he said what a lot of people think, but are afraid to say.  

    • Everyone bashes Crosby who isn’t a Penguins fan. He gets scrutinized for complaining b/c he is one of if not the face of the league. He’s toned it way down since his rookie season. 

      • Anatoliy Metter says:

        Couldn’t have said it better myself Justin. I am an Islanders fan and am neither Crosby nor Milbury’s biggest supporter, but Mad Mike was out of line. So what if Crosby still complains or “whines”, he backs it up by putting up points. All of the spotlight is on him b/c he’s been the face of the NHL for the past several years as Justin said.

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