“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,’’ a network spokesperson said in a statement Monday after announcing its 2021 broadcast teams. “We wish him well.”
The former Bruins defenseman and coach talked his way into numerous controversies during his years at the network. His last controversy, a sexist comment made during a playoff game, appears to have cost him his job.
In August, while the NHL was resuming its season in Toronto and Edmonton, Milbury and fellow analyst Brian Boucher discussed during an Islanders-Capitals playoff broadcast what life was like in the two bubbles.
“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.
Replied Milbury, ““Not even any woman here to disrupt your concentration.”
The NHL immediately condemned the comment as “insensitive and insulting.” Soon thereafter, Milbury announced that he was leaving the bubble and would no longer be part of the playoff broadcasts.
“In light of the attention caused by my recent remark, I have decided to step away from my role at NBC Sports for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs,” Milbury said in a statement. “I do not want my presence to interfere with the athletes as they try to win the greatest trophy in sports.”
Milbury was not expected to return this season, but his departure was not confirmed by NBC Sports until Monday.
NBC Sports’ NHL coverage begins with a tripleheader Wednesday. Popular broadcaster Mike “Doc” Emrick retired after last season. Kenny Albert, John Forslund and Brendan Burke will be the network’s play by play voices.
Mike Babcock, a longtime coach with the Ducks, Red Wings and Maple Leafs who has been accused of verbal and emotional abuse by some of his former players, has been added as an analyst.
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