Mike Milbury off NHL playoff broadcasts to ‘insulting’ comments about women

Mike Milbury will not appear on NBC Sports’ coverage for the remainder of the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2020, he said Saturday. The news comes a day after the NHL condemned Milbury’s comments that players are not as distracted because there are no women in the league’s bubble as “insensitive and insulting.”

“In light of the attention caused by my recent remark, I have decided to step down from my role at NBC Sports for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs,” Milbury said in a statement released by the network. “I do not want my presence to interest the athletes because they are trying to win the biggest trophy in sports.”

Milbury was scheduled to work out his Philadelphia Flyers-Montreal Canadiens game Friday night, but NBC left him sidelined. The 68-year-old former general manager of the New York Islanders made the remarks Thursday night, during the broadcast of the Islanders series-clinching victory over the Washington Capitals.

Milbury and analyst Brian Boucher discuss the benefits of the NHL playoff bubble.

“When you think about it, it’s a great environment – if you enjoy playing and enjoying long time with your teammates, it’s a perfect place,” Boucher said.

“Not even every woman here to disturb your concentration,” Milbury replied.

The NHL said it had communicated its concerns to NBC, saying Milbury’s comments did not reflect the ‘value and commitment of the league to make our game more inclusive and hospitable to all. ‘

Milbury apologized Friday.

“It was not my intention to respect anyone,” Milbury said in a statement. “I tried to be irreverent and took it a step too far. It was a sad mistake that I take seriously.”

This is not the first time Milbury has been highlighted for nonsensical comments about women on broadcasts. In 2012, he said that Penguins coach Dan Bylsma “should have taken off his skirt and gone there” during a scuffle in the game. In 2011, Milbury referred to Canucks players Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin as “Thelma and Louise.”

Milbury also made derogatory remarks about women’s hockey on a broadcast earlier this month. In the second period of a qualifying matchup between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Canadiens, Milbury said playing in an empty arena was like in a women’s hockey game.

Many women’s hockey programs took umbrella and tweeted rebuttals.

Earlier this year, NBC Sports parted ways with another one of its lead analysts, Jeremy Roenick, for unusual comments about employees. In a performance on a Barstool Sports podcast, Roenick repeatedly commented on the performances of analyst Patrick Sharp and lead host Kathryn Tappen. Roenick said if he, his wife and Tappen were “going to bed together … that would be really good, but it’s never going to happen.”

Roenick is currently suing NBC for wrongful termination. In court, Roenick claims he was discriminated against because he was a straight man.