Posted on: March 1, 2012 5:43 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2012 5:52 pm
By: Adam Gretz
When defenseman Kris Letang had to leave Wednesday's game in Dallas after being on the receiving end of a big hit from Stars forward Eric Nystrom, the biggest concern for the Penguins had to be whether or not their best blueliner suffered another concussion. He's already missed more than 20 games this season due to one concussion, which came after a hit by Montreal's Max Pacioretty. The Penguins have had their share of concussion-related issues this season including injuries to Sidney Crosby, Tyler Kennedy, Arron Asham and, as already mentioned, Letang.
Following Thursday morning's practice in Denver, where the Penguins will play the Avalanche on Saturday, coach Dan Bylsma revealed that Letang is in fact suffering from concussion symptons and will return to Pittsburgh on Sunday for more observation.
Nystrom received a two-minute for roughing on the play, and there was much debate as to whether or not he would face any supplemental discipline from the NHL. Brendan Shanahan, vice president of player safety, announced that Nystrom will not face any additional discipline.
Wrote Shanahan on his official Twitter feed, "Our view is that Letang lunges forward just prior to contact and although it appears that the chin is grazed by the side of Nystrom's arm, the right chest and shoulder of Letang remain the PPOC (principal point of contact)."
NBC's Mike Milbury and Jeremy Roenick were among the people debating (screaming at each is more like it) whether or not Nystrom should face discipline, and it's probably a shock to anybody that is familair with his opinions on these matters but Milbury was actually on the side of supplemental discipline. Roenick, however, wasn't hearing it as the video below (via wyshynski) shows:
It's a tough play to judge, and it's impossible to figure out what Nystrom's intent was, but it does seem a bit interesting that after facing mounting criticism earlier in the season for the number of suspensions he had been handing out during his first months on the job, the amount of supplemental discipline coming out of the NHL offices has slowed down considerably. You could argue that players cleaned up their act, but there have been plenty of examples of plays that drew punishment earlier in the season but have been overlooked in recent weeks and months.
Two such examples: Ottawa's Kyle Turris and his hit on Boston's Joe Corvo last week, and David Clarkson's charging incident on Monday night.
Either way, the potential loss of Letang for any length of time is a big one for the Penguins. With him they are a serious contender for the Stanley Cup. Without him ... they're probably not.
Previously at Eye On Hockey
Video: Letang injured after hit by Nystrom
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Posted on: December 23, 2011 1:51 pm
Edited on: December 23, 2011 2:51 pm
Charges against NBC Sports and CBC analyst Mike Milbury were dropped by a court in Brookline, Mass on Friday.
The former Bruins player and coach who later became the Islanders general manager had been charged by Brookline police with assault and battery on a 12-year-old player. The accusation stemmed from a game in which Milbury's son was playing and just as a fight was breaking out between his son and a player from the other team, Milbury stepped in and grabbed and yelled at the other player.
That's the part everybody agreed on, Milbury included. The accounts differed with how forceful Milbury was with the child, some saying the player was shaken before being dropped hard to the ice while Milbury contended he just grabbed the child's jersey and yelled.
But the charges were dropped as the clerk magistrate found there was no probable cause to bring the charges against Milbury.
“I am hoping this will absolve things, and I will get back to work in the next few days,” Millbury said after Friday’s hearing. “At this point, I am just thankful that the court ruled this way, and I am going to go home and get my voice ready to do some caroling.”
Milbury later released a full statement that shared a little more his relief at the magistrate's decision.
“My family and I are gratified that the clerk magistrate found no reason to further investigate the incident at Larz Anderson Park two weeks ago when I separated two 12 year old boys in a Pee Wee hockey game, one of whom was my son. I was a coach and supervisor on the ice that day when the scuffle broke out after the game had concluded and the referee had left. I know I acted responsibly to break up an altercation between two young boys in order to prevent potential injury to both. My actions were in no way inappropriate and I would take the same actions today if confronted with a similar situation in the future.”
At this point there is no word whether or not his voice will also be getting ready to return to his analyst positions, but there's no reason to assume he won't. He's been on leave from those duties while dealing with these charges. As he said, he looks forward to getting back to work in the coming days, probably in time for the Winter Classic on Jan. 2.
I'm not surprised at the charges being dropped. The accounts of the incident were similar enough for me to believe the truth was pretty much all out there. If anything, I thought Milbury could receive some community service. Instead he leaves with what he has to take as a pretty big warning not to get aggressive with young players on the ice.
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: December 19, 2011 7:33 pm
Mike Milbury is already stepping away from his NBC duties (hold your excitement) while he deals with the charges of assault and battery for his role in a youth hockey game. NBC Sports made that announcement the day police in Mass. announced the charges would come down.
You can add the CBC to the list of networks you won't see Milbury on in the coming days/weeks as well.
"CBC Sports spoke with Mike late this afternoon. After a good discussion, we both decided that he won't be part of Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts while he focuses on his personal situation,” a CBC spokesman said in a statement.
That means there won't be any more Hot Stove segments with Mad Mike in the forseeable future.
As of now, the absences at both networks appears to only be temporary as Milbury faces the charges. Obviously he has a few more important things to attend to in the mean time. The first step was to tell his side of the story to the Boston Globe and refute the allegations.
Posted on: December 18, 2011 10:29 am
Edited on: December 18, 2011 10:37 am
On Friday, word come out from Brookline, Mass. police that Mike Milbury, currently an analyst on both NBC Sports and the CBC, was being charged with assault and battery on a 10-year-old hockey player, threatening to commit a crime and disorderly conduct. The incident happened in a game involving his son, Jake, and a fight that broke out on the ice.
The typical statement was released from Milbury's legal representation, saying “Mike Milbury denies any allegations that there was an assault of any kind. He simply intervened in an altercation between his son and an opposing player. No one was struck, no one was injured and no one was threatened.” It's very legalese and didn't say a whole lot, leaving vague the actual happenings.
But it didn't take long for Milbury to tell his full side of the story, which is backed up by some others who were there to witness it.
Milbury told the Boston Globe that Jake was targeted all game long by taunts from a player on the opposing team. It eventually led to his son's frustration boiling over and the two players getting into it.
"This was also after watching my kid get verbally bullied by the other player for over two hours," Milbury said. "It was the third time that night that Jake and the kid got into it, and that was the last straw for Jake. I mean, what kid can take that?"
What happened next is what's in contention now.
“I want to be clear about a couple of things," Milbury said. “No one was punched, kicked, or assaulted in any way. I know the ‘Mad Mike’ image that I have and all that. I love the game, I’m passionate about it, but I don’t smack kids around. I grabbed the other kid by the sweater to stop a fight and, yeah, I swore at him. That’s it. That’s what I did.
“I yelled at him, ‘What did you say?! What the [expletive] did you just say to [Jake]?!’"
Milbury's account of events was backed up by a parent of one of Jake's teammates, Peter Weiner.
Weiner told the Globe he was there throughout the night and that he witnessed Jake “being needled pretty much all game," and lauded Milbury for helping to restrain the skirmishing players.
“All he did was stop the kids," Weiner said. “And on top of it, he booted his own kid off the ice."
That differs only a little from the reported account from an opposing team's parent, from Deadspin.
Coaches from both teams went on to the ice to break it up, and at this point, says a Blackhawks parent, Milbury grabbed the victim's facemask and screamed at him, asking "What did you say to my son?" Milbury allegedly lifted the kid off the ground and shook him, yelling obscenities all the while, before dropping him roughly to the ice.
The accounts really are very similar. So the only gray matter there appears to be in this situation is how physical Milbury was with the other team's player. Milbury says he grabbed his jersey and swore. The other view says Milbury lifted him off the ground and shook the player.
With seeing the two sides so similar in their stories, I'd imagine it's a matter of perspective. Exaggeration often occurs in situations like this, but not on purpose. The moment is intense and sometimes things become more grandiose. Or in the other vein, sometimes a person doesn't really how far they might have gone.
Just my completely unqualified hunch, I'd be very surprised if anything serious came out of this for Milbury. If anything, I'd imagine he'll have some community service to do. But the damage to his reputation is already done and even exoneration likely won't take away the stain.
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: December 16, 2011 12:38 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2011 4:33 pm
Mike Milbury, the former Bruins player and coach as well as Islanders GM who is now an analyst for Versus, NBC and NESN as well as occassional guest on Hockey Night in Canada, has been charged with assaulting a 12-year-old hockey player in Brookline, Mass. The report first came from CBSBoston.com.
The Boston Herald has more information on the details of what happened.
A statement on Milbury's behalf was released today by his lawyer, Daniel Rabinovitz.
“Mike Milbury denies any allegations that there was an assault of any kind. He simply intervened in an altercation between his son and an opposing player. No one was struck, no one was injured and no one was threatened.”
NBC, which owns and operates Versus (soon to become NBC Sports Network) also released a statement ont he accusations.
“We are aware of the story and are gathering the facts. We will not have any further statements until we know more information," NBC said.
If true -- and I accentuate that, he has only been charged at this point -- I don't think it will catch many by surprise. Milbury has long been recognized for his temper, among other things. Perhaps no moment was more infamous than the time that the whole Bruins team he played for climbed into the stands in a game against the Rangers and Milbury was seen ripping off the shoe of a fan and then hitting the fan with said shoe.
He didn't earn the nickname Mad Mike Milbury for nothing.
As an analyst, Milbury has been just about as controversial as he was a GM for the Islanders, albeit for different reasons. Milbury isn't looked upon too fondly by the Isles fans after what they view was a colossal failure as his time leading their franchise.
On TV, he's probably about as disliked by the viewers as he was the fans of the Islanders. He has been known to get loud and argumentative on the air as well as taking a lot of unpopular stances. But he's always been consistent. He has and continues to stand up for the rough side of the sport.
I'll just say what a wacky couple of days in Massachusetts for non-professional hockey. First there was the story about a player pooping in another player's glove, now this. Also, you might remember another hockey analyst, Matthew Barnaby, was arrested for DWI.
Posted on: October 29, 2011 10:22 pm
Edited on: October 29, 2011 10:25 pm
By: Adam Gretz
Chris Pronger addressed the media on Saturday night for the first time since suffering an eye injury last week that will sideline him for the next couple of weeks. His right eye looked every bit as mangled as one would expect after taking a stick to the face during a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the defenseman said he has no idea on a timetable for his return to the lineup.
He also said that he's experiencing some blurred vision, and when asked if he feels lucky that the injury wasn't worse, he admitted it could have easily been a lot worse but also added that you never feel lucky after getting hit. Flyers beat writer Anthony SanFilippo has the video of the entire media scrum which lasts about three-and-a-half minutes.
It's been reported that Pronger will not be cleared to return to the Flyers' lineup without wearing a visor, and when asked if the injury has changed his opinion on wearing one he simply said "You don't want to know my stance, that's for another day."
And with that, the debate rolls on. While Pronger was addressing the Philadelphia media, the folks on CBC Hotstove were debating whether or not the NHL should make visors mandatory and, predictably, former NHL player and New York Islanders general manager Mike Milbury was completely against the idea and the very suggestion of it, arguing that it would change the game and be a major step toward the elimination of fighting, while also claiming that he likes seeing players bloodied because it's a badge or honor and courage.
Leaving aside the argument as to whether or not fighting should or should not be eliminated (which is another, more difficult discussion for another day) the flaw in that argument, of course (the fighting part, anyway), as pointed out by TSN's Bob McKenzie via Twitter, is that the American Hockey League has made visors mandatory and fighting still takes place.
As I pointed out last week there are still are a good number of NHL players that view wearing a visor as their own personal choice because it's only putting themselves at risk for injury. And while that's true, that they're the only person that has to deal with the pain and injury that could come from not wearing a visor, they are putting their teams at risk -- as well as the large financial investments of their front office -- by potentially missing games due to what could be an easily preventable injury. And as far as increasing player safety is concerned, this is one change that would not, contary to Milbury's howls for blood, have a major impact on the game, unlike some other potential changes (like, for example, no-touch icing).
You're not going to completely eliminate injuries no matter what changes you make to the way the game is played or the equipment players are forced to wear. Playing the game will always carry a certain amount of risk. But the issue isn't whether or not visors can completely eliminate the potential for injury, it's about whether or not (and how much) it can reduce the risk of preventable ones.
Meanwhile, Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich addressed the subject on Saturday, and according to Katie Carrera of the Washington Post, he feels the NHL is within five to 10 years of making visors mandatory.
Said Laich, via the Post:
“I think eventually visors will be mandatory for players coming into the league,” said Laich, who is Washington’s NHLPA representative. “If they do institute that rule I’d like to be grandfathered where [those already in the NHL] have a choice. I almost wish I wore a visor because incidents that can happen. Last night, you take the ear and maybe that’s two inches and it’s in your eye.”My only question: five to 10 years? Why so long?
Posted on: October 7, 2011 5:44 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2011 7:37 pm
By: Adam Gretz
During the first period of the New York Rangers' 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Friday afternoon, Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello was given a two-minute minor for boarding Kyle Clifford.
Because it was a questionable play involving a hit from behind on what could be considered a defenseless player, the inevitable discussion of whether or not it will draw the attention of new league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan was immediately fired up. And thanks to the magic of television, Mike Milbury and Keith Jones decided to go at it on Versus during the second intermission.
Jones opened up by arguing that the play should be reviewed by Shanahan -- and could result in a suspension -- due to the way the rule is written. Milbuy, who recently said the state of officiating and discipline in the game "sucks", was having none of it.
Said Milbury, "If that's the way the rule is written, count me out for interest in it."
(UPDATE: Zuccarello was fined $2,500 by the NHL on Friday afternoon.)
Here's the entire exchange, complete with plenty of loud noises, yelling and Milbury finally saying that this discussion after every period "is starting to piss me off."
Milbury certainly isn't alone with his views (have you listened to Don Cherry lately?) and like many traditionalists doesn't want to see the NHL become the No Hitting League (and no matter how many players get suspended, that's never going to happen).
Still, there has to be a happy medium somewhere in here between the two sides that want to make the game a little safer as players continue to get bigger, strong and faster (and the playing surface stays the same) while still keeping it a contact sport.
Posted on: October 5, 2011 10:26 am
So far this preseason, Brendan Shanahan has been like a school principal ... any time he has made a call, you know it's bad news. He had done numerous videos detailing why players were suspended with only one, Ryan Malone of the Lightning, not being suspended and still getting a video breakdown.
But to show it's not all bad, Shanahan made another video, one detailing all the good hits in the NHL the past few weeks. Nothing like some positive reinforcement.
The first half of the video, the hits are very tame. The words love taps came to mind. It was really loading up to give more ammo to the people out there like Mike Milbury, who think the way the game is being called right now "sucks."
But about halfway through the video, the reel stops and returns to Shanahan. He then proceeds to flip a verbal bird at the critics complaining he is taking hitting out of the game. It seems obvious enough that he has heard the cries of opposition and is showing that it is in no way his intention to remove hitting.
From there it's back to the hitting, big hitting.
I have been a fan of nearly everything Shanahan has done in this role, and this is no exception. There has remained some confusion on what has been a legal hit and is no longer legal under the new rules. As people have pointed out, it's a work in progress. So to give players a video showing them what is OK should further help giving players a clear idea what they can and can't do.
This is really as necessary a teaching tool as the videos showing what's not legal. It reminds players that they can still hit, and hit big, they just need to be responsible.