Milbury's Glass House
It would appear that one morning immersed in the city of brotherly love has gone straight to Mike Milbury’s head.
In an appearance on a morning radio program in Philadelphia, Mike Milbury made some questionable and tasteless comments directed at the Penguins organization.
In reference to Sidney Crosby, Milbury ranted “So you know, Crosby gets cross-checked, big whoop. 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.”
In the wake of the state of the league, those comments are just classless. Especially considering what Sidney Crosby, the best player in the world, has dealt with over the course of the last year. It’s clear that Mibury knows no class, but we already knew that.
The comments I’d like to focus on are in reference to Dan Bylsma. In reference to Bylsma’s lack of face to face contact with Peter Laviolette, Milbury had this to say:
“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,”
It’s amazing that a winning streak like the one the Penguins recently found themselves in can create seemingly bad habits.
Goals were coming all kinds of ways, offense seemed easy, the Penguins were on cruise control. Maybe that’s the problem today. When things come easy, you get out of the habits that you spent such a hard time forming to get to that winning streak.
You lack focus.
If there’s anything Dan Bylsma likes his team to have a good grasp of, it’s focus. The Penguins game is about attention to detail. Bylsma demands that his team make the simplistic play, stick to fundamentals, get the puck north. We aren’t seeing a lot of that right now.
Now, with that in mind, let’s take a closer look at what Mike Milbury had to say about Dan Bylsma’s wearing of ladies attire. Hop in the Faceoff-Factor time machine, we’re going back to 1991 to check out the last time Mike Milbury took his own advice and ditched the skirt.
It was the 1990-1991 Prince of Wales Conference finals. The Penguins and Bruins were facing off for a trip to dance for the Stanley Cup. The head-to-head match in the coaching department featured “Badger” Bob Johnson versus the Bruins Mike Milbury.
Despite having a lot of hype carried with them to start the series, the Penguins were embarrassed by the Bruins in game one by a 6-3 final.
Mario Lemieux gave the Penguins a lead in game 2, but the Bruins tied the game late and “Rosy” Ruzicka scored the game winner in overtime.
The Penguins were headed home facing a 2-0 series deficit. A frustrated Kevin Stevens guaranteed the Penguins would sweep the rest of the series. “Artie” backed it up with an impressive on-ice performance to give the Penguins the win.
But a great game by Stevens wasn’t the only thing featured in game 3. Mike Milbury was going to ditch the skirt, man-up, and show the Penguins who ran the show.
Ulf Samuelsson rocked the Bruins world with a questionable knee-on-knee hit to Bruins star Cam Neely. Having smacked a few sticks off the boards during play to voice his displeasure to the officials, Milbury hosted his own press conference live from the Pentagon with the Joint Chiefs of Staff to announce that he’d declared war on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In a bizarre choice of words, Mike Milbury referred to Bob Johnson as nothing more than a “professor of goonism.” In the midst of his tirade, Milbury began making lineup adjustments that would put a little bit more grit into the lineup that would be facing a skilled Penguins team.
In a turn of events that was shocking to no one except Milbury himself, the Penguins would even the series in game 4, and then return to Boston to lay down a massive 7-2 drubbing in front of the Boston faithful.
Kevin Stevens guarantee was seen through to the end. The Pittsburgh Penguins eliminated the Boston Bruins in 6 games.
The Bruins lost their focus.
But, like a future version of “Badger,” Dan Bylsma remained cool in the face of confrontation yesterday.
Mike Milbury’s commitment to kicking off the skirt didn’t help him avoid trouble when he beat a man with a shoe when a part of the Bruins organization, nor did it assist him in keeping his team focused in the wake of a 2-1 series lead after a hard-fought game 3.
Dan Bylsma’s team lacks focus. There’s always a game within a game, and it seems like the Penguins are stuck in a rut of trying to make pretty plays, being lax defensively, and retaliating to on-ice shenanigans.
The last thing this team needs right now is an unfocused leader. Or, perhaps worse, a suspended leader. The Penguins rely on Bylsma to set the tempo, to right the boat, and while they may be in the midst of some bad habits, if they pull out of it, Dan Bylsma will be one of the main reasons why.
If that means he has to wear a skirt, I’m sure he’d be happy to tell you what size he is.
Is any act of Mike Milbury machismo that is really worth $10,000.00? Milbury is living in the past, and he’s recommending that current NHL coaches follow the failed gameplan that was initiated by him so many years ago.
The only thing Dan Bylsma needs to prove to the world is that he’s worthy of another Jack Adams award.
And I can promise you that Dan Bylsma will make his mark on this league by dragging the Penguins out of these ugly habits, not by beating them over the head with his shoe and declaring war on the enemy.