The NHL's new television contract with NBC might have many die-hard fans disappointed, as it means more years to come of Mike Milbury giving his ridiculous commentary during games and intermissions. However, as many ridiculous things as Milbury might say, having some hot air blast out of his mouth and around the NHL might actually be a good thing.
Perhaps all that hot air will help warm up the general public's ratings of our dearly beloved sport.
That brings me to my point. For those of you who saw Mike Milbury's comments on new league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan's preseason suspensions, your reaction might have been disgust, you may have been laughing harder than you've ever laughed, or you may be simply thinking, "Where the heck does this guy come up with the stuff he says?"
Go and check out the quote on Puck Daddy at Yahoo! Sports (Greg Wyshynski gives a humorous take on what Milbury said, too). But to sum up what Milbury said, he stated that he is steadfastly against how Shanahan has been disciplining players and does not agree with his coworkers' support of Shanahan.
Milbury then proceeded to say he's completely against head shots.
This, right after he ranted that Shanahan disciplining players guilty of laying hits that targeted the head is going to lead to hockey becoming the equivalent of touch football.
It's a hard logic to follow if you read the whole quote, but perhaps this kind of outspoken brashness is exactly what the NHL needs to attract more fans.
Given, I may get some flak for this, especially considering what Milbury has already compiled in his quote book, such as "Crapitals," "Euro-trash," and now, in his latest rant, in the above issue, "pink hats."
In the media, what people love is not an unbiased presentation of the facts. People love to hear an opinionated stance on the issue. Even more than an opinionated stance on an issue, people love to hear a brash, opinionated rant.
See where this is going?
Whether or not you're against head hits; whether or not you like what Brendan Shanahan is doing as the new league Executive VP of Player Safety; whether you think Mike Milbury is a goon, ridiculous, hilarious or brilliant, perhaps Mike Milbury continuing to rant during NHL games is exactly what this sport needs in order for American culture to warm up to hockey.
It may not even be a huge stretch of the imagination to think that maybe, just maybe, Milbury knows what people want to hear and knows how to give it to them.
OK, maybe not—one only has to think back to his coaching and general manager days to realize that maybe that's too much of a stretch.
Still, my hope is that, despite how sick of Milbury a lot of people may be, the impossible-to-ignore, brash gas that the guy unleashes constantly will help wrap people up in hockey emotionally. Who ever said that having someone who everybody loves to hate was bad for publicity?
Undoubtedly, we'll hear some new phrase or slur coined by Milbury on the air this year.
So, here's to more years to come of listening to Milbury. And for those die-hard fans out there who simply cannot take anymore, Mike Milbury is exactly why the mute-button was invented.