Mike Milbury talks to the media after New York Islanders team owner Charles Wang announced that Milbury will step aside as general manager after a replacement is found, during a news conference in Uniondale, N.Y., Thursday, Jan. 12, 2006. Milbury has apologized for critical comments of Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby and calling him âa punk.âTHE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Henny Ray Abrams
One day after a rant against Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby, hockey analyst Mike Milbury found himself under fire.
Crosby's agent rejected an apology from the former NHL coach and general manager, saying Milbury's comments on Crosby's history concussion demanded action.
"Milbury went too far this time attacking the very sensitive issue of the concussion," Pat Brisson said Tuesday. "A simple apology isn't accepted in this case.
"The real way to treat this disease is by either suspending or firing Milbury. Plain and simple "
Milbury ripped Crosby on a Philadelphia radio station Monday, calling out the Pens captain for his role in a game-ending line brawl Sunday between the Penguins and Flyers.
He labelled Crosby "a punk" and "little goody two shoes" and also referred to "his 35th concussion."
A day later, he apologized via a one-paragraph statement.
"I reached out to (Pittsburgh president) David Morehouse and the Penguins about the comments I made yesterday on Philadelphia radio," Milbury said.
"In hindsight, I realize what I said was inappropriate and wrong, and I want to apologize to the Penguins organization and their fans."
Crosby said he's not sure what provoked Milbury's tirade. The 24-year-old former MVP has been limited to 19 games over the last 15 months due to concussions.
"I don't know what he's looking for, if he's looking for attention. I don't know what it is," Crosby said Tuesday before the Penguins' game in Boston. "I really don't know where that came from. He's pretty good at twisting things around, that's for sure."
Milbury, who is an analyst on NBC and also appears on CBC, took issue with Crosby's behaviour during the chaotic scene near the end of Sunday's game.
The fighting Sunday was touched off in part by Flyers forward Brayden Schenn's cross-checking Crosby in the back.
"So you know, Crosby gets cross-checked, big whoop," Milbury told the radio station. "He said after he came back from his 35th concussion, 'I'm not going to do this anymore, I'm not going to get into this scrums, I'm going to stay away from that stuff.' He couldn't help himself because there's a little punk in Crosby.
"He's not the perfect gentleman. He's not the sweet kid you see in interviews with his hat pulled down over his eyes. I'd say screw him, hit him."
Crosby said he's "not a gentleman on the ice at times" but added he's usually retaliating. He had no major issue with Schenn's hit, saying "that's not out of the blue."
It's not the first time Milbury's mouth has landed him in hot water.
During last year's Stanley Cup finals Milbury, who was working as an analyst on U.S. television network Versus, mockingly referring to Vancouver Canucks twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin as "Thelma and Louise" for their "soft" play against the Boston Bruins.
Milbury also made headlines last year when Boston-area police sought to have the 59-year-old charged with assault and battery after an incident at a public hockey rink.
Police said Milbury grabbed, shook and threatened a boy who was fighting and jawing with his 12-year-old son.
A Massachusetts clerk magistrate later ruled there wasn't not enough evidence to charge Milbury.
On Monday, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette was fined US$10,000 for calling out his coaching counterpart, Pittsburgh's Dan Bylsma, over the incident from bench to bench. Penguins assistant Tony Granato, who stepped on the top of the side boards and in between the two head coaches, was also fined $2,500.
Laviolette was upset that the Penguins' fourth line took a shift shortly after Jakub Voracek's empty-net goal concluded the scoring.
During the shift, Penguins forward Joe Vitale levelled Flyers centre Danny Briere shortly after the ensuing faceoff, starting off a chain of events that included Crosby's run-in with Schenn, as well as Laviolette smashing a stick over the glass.
"Those guys hadn't been out there in 12 minutes," Laviolette said in his post-game press conference. "It's a gutless move by their coach. It's gutless."
The two teams meet again Saturday, and will likely face each other in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs next week.
"It's not totally uncommon," Milbury said of Laviolette's behaviour. "I can remember being on such a perch, or at least trying to climb over the boards to get at somebody to make a point.
"And I thought Dan Bylsma should have taken off his skirt and gone over there."
With files from The Associated Press.