The NHL condemned broadcast analyst Mike Milbury for his insensitive remark he made during the waning moments of the New York Islanders-Washington Capitals playoff game, the league announced Friday.
Milbury, 68, was speaking to co-host John Forslund during a broadcast Thursday on NBC Sports Network in Toronto about the advantages of the NHL’s playoff bubble amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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,” Forslund said.
Milbury replied: “Not even any woman here to disrupt your concentration.”
The NHL issued the following statement on Friday:
“The National Hockey League condemns the insensitive and insulting comment that Mike Milbury made during last night’s broadcast and we have communicated our feelings to NBC. The comment did not reflect the NHL’s values and commitment to making our game more inclusive and welcoming to all.”
NBC Sports made its feelings known to Milbury, The Washington Post reported.
“[The network is] disappointed about Mike’s insensitive comment and have addressed it with him.”
Milbury apologized in the NBC Sports release.
“I sincerely apologize for making the comment,” Milbury said. “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.”
Milbury is no stranger to controversial statements, most notably using the term “pansification” during the 2009 season while taking about the NHL’s debate over banning fighting.
Two years later in the Stanley Cup finals, he labelled Vancouver Canucks stars Daniel and Henrik Sedin as “Thelma and Louise.”
Milbury was a defenseman for the Boston Bruins from 1975-1987, recording 238 points (49 goals, 189 assists) and a plus-175 rating in 754 career games.
He also coached the Bruins (1989-91) and Islanders (1995-99) following his playing career. He had a 146-160-45 record in 351 games.