SBD/Issue 114/Olympics

Mike Milbury Refers To Russia Team Performance As "Eurotrash"

Milbury Facing Criticism For Postgame
Comment About Russian Hockey Team
NBC hockey analyst Mike Milbury following last night's Canada-Russia men's hockey game, which Canada won 7-3, said he was "really disappointed that (Russia) came with their Eurotrash game." Milbury: "There was just no heart, no guts, no nothing there (from the Russians) to back it up." NBC host Bill Patrick in response asked, "Did you really say Eurotrash? Did that come out of your mouth?" Milbury: "I did" (“XXI Winter Olympics,” CNBC, 2/24). NBC's Jeremy Roenick, located on the set between Patrick and Milbury, "sat stunned ... with his mouth open" following Milbury's comment (NJ.com, 2/24). YAHOO SPORTS' Sean Leahy notes "outrage over Milbury's use of 'Eurotrash' began immediately after the word left his lips." The criticism "will only continue to grow" today, as there are no men's hockey games scheduled before Friday's semifinals. Milbury is NBC's "attempt at an American Don Cherry," but Leahy wonders if Milbury should be "punished for his remarks." NBC "may succumb to the criticisms and take Milbury off the air," or they could "just continue to do what they've done best the past two weeks and not listen to anyone" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/25).

NOT HIS FIRST QUESTIONABLE COMMENT: FANHOUSE.com's Adam Gretz noted the comment is not the "first time in this tournament Milbury's words have raised a few eyebrows," as earlier in the Olympics Milbury said Germany men's coach Uwe Krupp is "basically asking his guys to be fire hydrants and they're getting peed on right now." Since joining NBC, it has been "painfully obvious that Milbury is supposed to be America's answer to Don Cherry." Gretz wrote that means "loud screaming" and the "occasional controversial comment or viewpoint" (FANHOUSE.com, 2/24). In Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde writes Milbury last night "sounded like your stereotypically overbearing North American" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 2/25). But MEDIAITE's Colby Hall writes, "I move that all sports should now feature the frank and candid analysis of Mike Milbury" (MEDIAITE.com, 2/25).

CHANGE OF PHILOSOPHY: NBC will air tomorrow's U.S.-Finland men's hockey semifinal live across the entire country at 3:00pm ET after yesterday's U.S.-Switzerland game aired live in only the Eastern and Central time zones (THE DAILY). YAHOO SPORTS' Greg Wyshynski wrote he would "like to congratulate NBC ... for coming to its senses regarding the idiocy of tape-delaying events held in the Pacific Time Zone to viewers in the Pacific Time Zone." Wyshynski: "The people have spoken. NBC has listened" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/24). In Seattle, Ron Judd wrote under the header, "OMG! NBC To Show Next Hockey Round Live All Time Zones." Judd wrote NBC will say the decision had "nothing to do with all those angry letters and emails," but "don't believe them" (SEATTLETIMES.com, 2/24). The AP's David Bauder gives the lowlight of NBC's coverage yesterday to the "inexplicable decision to air the U.S. men's hockey game against Switzerland on tape delay out West, three hours behind." Bauder: "It's not like a Nordic ski event, folks. Give NBC credit for recognizing the blunder and announcing that Friday's hockey game will be shown live across the country" (AP, 2/25).

TAKING MATTERS INTO THEIR OWN HANDS: The SEATTLE TIMES' Judd reported Seattle's KING-NBC streamed the U.S.-Switzerland game "LIVE on its own Web site, via a link to the nbcolympics.com site." NBC's "stated objectives for its delays are to put events on in prime time, when the most viewers are available to watch them." Judd asked, "So how do they justify delaying a weekday noon hockey game to 3 p.m.? Do they honestly believe they'll have more viewers at 3 p.m. for a game where everyone already knows the results than they would live at noon?" (SEATTLETIMES.com, 2/24).

CONTENT WITH DECISION: In Dallas, Barry Horn noted NBC has "no misgivings about going with taped skiing and ice dancing" on the net last Sunday and airing the U.S.-Canada men's hockey game on MSNBC. An NBC official said, "You do know that 53[%] of the Olympic audience is women." Horn wrote NBC's "job is not to grow the NHL" (DALLASNEWS.com, 2/24). But in California, Randy Youngman writes it was a "huge mistake to air the U.S.-Canada men's hockey game on MSNBC instead of NBC, which would have guaranteed an even bigger audience." Youngman also writes the decision to tape-delay U.S.-Switzerland on the West Coast was "absolute lunacy" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 2/25).

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