NHL Analyst Mike Milbury to ‘Step Away’ From NBC Sports for Remainder of Stanley Cup Playoffs

Milbury was benched Friday after a remark about women being a disruption to players’ “concentration” during the hockey season

Last Updated: August 22, 2020 @ 3:02 PM

NHL analyst Mike Milbury has decided to “step away” from NBC Sports for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs following his on-air remark about women being distractions to players.

“In light of the attention caused by my recent remark, I have decided to step away from my role at NBC Sports for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs,” Milbury said in a statement Saturday. “I do not want my presence to interfere with the athletes as they try to win the greatest trophy in sports.”

Milbury was benched by NBC Sports on Friday night, when he was previously scheduled to work, after making an on-air joke the day before about women being a disruption to players’ “concentration” during the hockey season.

During Thursday’s New York Islanders vs. Washington Capitals game, Milbury’s TV partner John Forslund spoke glowingly about the NHL “bubble” as being a “terrific environment” for hockey players.

“If you think about it, it’s a terrific environment with regards to- if you enjoy playing and enjoy being with your teammates for long periods of time, it’s a perfect place,” Forslund said.

Milbury then responded, “Not even any woman here to disrupt your concentration.”

Following backlash on Twitter, NBC Sports benched Milbury from calling last night’s Philadelphia Flyers vs. Montreal Canadiens contest on NBCSN (NBC Sports Network) with Forslund. Brian Boucher took Milbury’s place.

“Mike is not working tonight,” an NBC Sports spokesperson told TheWrap Friday. “We will announce our commentary teams for this weekend’s games tomorrow morning.”

Initially, NBC Sports told the Associated Press it was “disappointed” with Milbury’s “insensitive comment.”

Milbury told AP Hockey reporter Stephen Whyno: “I sincerely apologize for making the comment. It was not my intention to disrespect anyone. I was trying to be irreverent and took it a step too far. It was a regrettable mistake that I take seriously.”

On Friday, the NHL said the following in a statement: “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 comment did not reflect the NHL’s values and commitment to making our game more inclusive and welcoming to all.”

Listen to Milbury make the comment on live TV below.