98.5 The Sports Hub staff report
After 14 years together, NBC has removed Mike Milbury from their NHL coverage effective immediately, the network confirmed Monday.
“We are grateful to Mike for all of his contributions to our coverage for 14 years,” NBC Sports said in a statement. “But he will not be returning to our NHL announce team. We wish him well.”
Milbury’s run comes to an end after the 68-year-old found himself in hot water over remarks made during the network’s coverage of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Serving as the network’s lead on-site color commentator, Milbury was talking with Brian Boucher about the atmosphere inside the Toronto bubble during a Capitals Islanders contest, and remarked that there were “no women here to distract your concentration.”
“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 league’s statement read. “The comment did not reflect the NHL’s values and commitment to making our game more inclusive and welcoming to all.”
NBC responded by immediately sending the Massachusetts native home from the bubble, and severed ties completely Monday.
With Milbury gone, the league’s studio coverage will be led by Patrick Sharp as the primary analyst alongside Kathryn Tappen and Liam McHugh. Sharp will have some new backup, however, as NBC announced that former Maple Leafs (and Red Wings and Ducks before that) head coach Mike Babcock, and 13-year NHL veterans Ryan Callahan and Dominic Moore, will also contribute to studio coverage during the season.
NBC also announced their play-by-play crew, which with Doc Emrick retired, will be headlined by John Forslund, Kenny Albert, and Brendan Burke. Mike Tirico, Gord Miller, John Walton, and Randy Hahn will also serve as play-by-play options for NBC in 2021.
The network’s stable of color commentators in 2021 will include Boucher, Eddie Olczyk, Pierre McGuire, AJ Mleczko, Kendall Coyne Schofield, Keith Jones, and Anson Carter.