March 1, 2012

NHL on NBC Analysts Mike Milbury and Jeremy Roenick in Heated Exchange Last Night.

There was a fascinating moment of live television last night on NBC Sports Network as NHL on NBC hockey analysts Mike Milbury and Jeremy Roenick had a heated exchange about a hit to the head that took place during the Dallas Stars-Pittsburgh Penguins game. The argument about Eric Nystrom's roughing penalty on Kris Letang was secondary to the emotion on display as it appeared Milbury and JR were about to come to blows. 

The root of the animosity between them goes back to 2010 just after Roenick's former team the Chicago Blackhawks won their first Stanley Cup in 49 years. JR wears his heart on his sleeve and in a moment of real genuine emotion he started crying, talking through his tears about not having won the Cup with Chicago and how happy he was that Blackhawks fans finally get to celebrate a championship after waiting for so long. 

But then Milbury ruined what was a rare moment of heartfelt emotion on national television by saying "well I didn't win the Cup either, but I'm not crying." It made Milbury look like an unempathetic jerk. Milbury has a reputation as being an obnoxious blowhard. He even was accused of assaulting a 12-year-old boy during a fight with his son. The case was dismissed. For some reason NBC keeps bringing Milbury back. There have been times after seeing him appear on TSN that I thought he was banished to Canada. But then I see him on NBC again putting down his fellow analysts like JR and ridiculing some of my favorite players like Alex Ovechkin, who he says has a "low hockey IQ." In other words, Milbury doesn't think Ovie is very smart. Of course it is easy to criticize a player like Ovechkin from a studio in Bristol, Connecticut. 

It's not that Milbury doesn't make good points sometimes. In fact, tonight he was on the right side of the argument regarding the Nystrom-Letang hit and in his concern for all the concussions in the NHL. The problem is how he comes across as arrogant and domineering. Kudos to Roenick for challenging Milbury and standing up for himself. Keep it up JR. You've got millions of us rooting for you.

Click here to watch video of tonight's Milbury-Roenick rumble courtesy of Deadspin.

- Josh Marks

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