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NBC’s Mike Milbury apologizes for saying no women are in NHL bubble to disrupt players’ concentration

NBC and the NHL denounce the comment made during Thursday night's Islanders-Capitals game.
Mike Milbury talks to the media after Islanders owner Charles Wang announced that Milbury will step aside as general manager during a news conference in Uniondale, N.Y., on Jan. 12, 2006. Now with NBC Sports as an NHL analyst, Milbury is under fire for saying during the Islanders-Capitals game Thursday that no women are in the postseason bubble to disrupt the players' concentration. He apologized for the comment Friday.
Mike Milbury talks to the media after Islanders owner Charles Wang announced that Milbury will step aside as general manager during a news conference in Uniondale, N.Y., on Jan. 12, 2006. Now with NBC Sports as an NHL analyst, Milbury is under fire for saying during the Islanders-Capitals game Thursday that no women are in the postseason bubble to disrupt the players' concentration. He apologized for the comment Friday. [ HENNY RAY ABRAMS | ASSOCIATED PRESS ]
Published Aug. 21, 2020
Updated Aug. 24, 2020

NEW YORK — NBC Sports analyst Mike Milbury apologized Friday for saying during a playoff game broadcast that there aren’t women in the NHL bubble to disrupt the players’ concentration.

The comments were made during Thursday night’s game between the Islanders and Capitals in Toronto during a discussion about the environment in the bubble. The postseason is being staged entirely in access-limited arenas and hotels in Toronto and Edmonton.

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

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

Related: Milbury won’t work rest of playoffs after comment about women in NHL bubble

On Friday, Milbury said in a statement released by NBC, “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.”

NBC Sports said in a statement that it was disappointed in Milbury’s comment and had addressed it with him.

The NHL said in a statement that it condemned the “insensitive and insulting comment” and had “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,” the league said.

Milbury was not part of the broadcast crew for Friday night’s Flyers-Canadiens game in Toronto.

Milbury, a former NHL coach and general manager, also received criticism this month when he took exception to Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask opting out of the playoffs because he wanted to spend time with his family.

Last year, NBC Sports suspended former NHL forward and commentator Jeremy Roenick for making sexually suggestive remarks about co-workers in a podcast and then fired him in February. Roenick is suing the network for wrongful termination, saying he was fired because he is heterosexual.