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Mike Milbury
Born Michael James Milbury
June 17, 1952 (1952-06-17) (age 57)
Brighton, Massachusetts
Occupation Sportscaster

Michael James Milbury (born June 17, 1952 in Brighton, Massachusetts) is an American sportscaster currently working as a professional ice hockey analyst for the New England Sports Network (NESN), Hockey Night in Canada and the NHL on NBC. He played twelve seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL), all of them as a defenseman for the Boston Bruins. He later served as assistant general manager under Harry Sinden and head coach for Boston, as well as general manager and coach for the New York Islanders.



Colgate University

Milbury was a three-year letterman at Colgate University from 1972 to 1974. A defenseman who wore uniform number 7, he was the team's co-leader in assists with 19 in his junior year. As senior captain, he had his best season with the Red Raiders with 30 points (4 goals, 26 assists). He also led the squad in penalty minutes in both campaigns with 68 in 1973 and 85 in 1974. His totals in 76 games played were 6 goals, 55 assists, 61 points and 203 penalty minutes.[1]

National Hockey League

Season   Team                 Lge   GP  G   A Pts  PIM   GP G  A Pts PIM
1971-72  Colgate University  NCAA   25  0  10  10   50
1972-73  Colgate University  NCAA   23  2  19  21   68
1973-74  Colgate University  NCAA   28  4  26  30   85

1973-74  Boston Braves        AHL    5  0   0   0    7   -- - -- --  --
1974-75  Rochester Americans  AHL   71  2  15  17  246    8 0  3  3  24
1975-76  Rochester Americans  AHL   73  3  15  18  199    3 0  1  1  13

1975-76  Boston Bruins        NHL    3  0   0   0    9   11 0  0  0  29
1976-77  Boston Bruins        NHL   77  6  18  24  166   13 2  2  4  47
1977-78  Boston Bruins        NHL   80  8  30  38  151   15 1  8  9  27
1978-79  Boston Bruins        NHL   74  1  34  35  149   11 1  7  8   7
1979-80  Boston Bruins        NHL   72 10  13  23   59   10 0  2  2  50
1980-81  Boston Bruins        NHL   77  0  18  18  222    2 0  1  1  10
1981-82  Boston Bruins        NHL   51  2  10  12   71   11 0  4  4   6
1982-83  Boston Bruins        NHL   78  9  15  24  216   -- - -- --  --
1983-84  Boston Bruins        NHL   74  2  17  19  159    3 0  0  0  12
1984-85  Boston Bruins        NHL   78  3  13  16  152    5 0  0  0  10
1985-86  Boston Bruins        NHL   22  2   5   7  102    1 0  0  0  17
1986-87  Boston Bruins        NHL   68  6  16  22   96    4 0  0  0   4
                      NHL Totals:  754 49 189 238 1552   86 4 24 28 219

Boston Bruins

Immediately after the conclusion of his college hockey career, Milbury played in five games with the Boston Braves, the Bruins' top farm team, in 1974. He signed with the Bruins as a free agent on November 5, 1974, and spent the next two campaigns with the Rochester Americans, the team's new American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate.[2] In both seasons he led the club in penalty minutes with 246 in 1975 and 199 in 1976, finishing fourth and third respectively in the AHL.[3][4]

He was promoted to the Bruins late in the 1975–76 season, playing in eleven of twelve Stanley Cup playoff matches. Prior to the following NHL campaign, he was a member of the United States team at the inaugural 1976 Canada Cup, getting a goal and three assists in five contests.[2]

In his first three full years with the Bruins, his heavily aggressive style of play was a perfect fit for the overachieving team coached by Don Cherry and featuring similar tough players such as Terry O'Reilly, John Wensink and Stan Jonathan. The only two times Milbury played in the Stanley Cup Finals were in 1977 and 1978, with Boston losing both times to the Montreal Canadiens in four and six games respectively.

In his twelve seasons as a defenseman for the Bruins, he appeared in the postseason eleven times. He accumulated more than 200 penalty minutes in 1981 (222) and 1983 (216) and surpassed 100 six other times. He also served as the club's representative with the NHL Players' Association and was outspoken on several controversial issues.[2]

Milbury gained a bit of notoriety for what occurred following a 4–3 Bruins victory over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on December 23, 1979. During an on-ice fray between the players from both sides, a Rangers fan left a cut on Jonathan's face with a rolled-up program and grabbed his hockey stick. O'Reilly climbed over the Plexiglas and went into the stands in pursuit of the offender, followed by Peter McNab and other teammates. Milbury, who had actually reached the visitors locker room when his teammates started going into the stands, raced back to join his colleagues in the brawl. He caught the unruly spectator, removed one of his shoes and, while holding the heel end, hit him hard once with the sole side. Subsequently NHL president John Ziegler suspended O'Reilly for eight games and McNab and Milbury for six, with each being fined $500. This incident also resulted in the installation of higher glass panels enclosing rinks in hockey arenas.[5]

He became head coach of the Boston Bruins in the 1989–90 season, leading the team to the Presidents Trophy and an appearance in the Stanley Cup finals. He was named Executive of the Year by the Sporting News.

He was the head coach of the Wales Conference team at the 1991 All-Star Game, where he generated some controversy by including enforcer Chris Nilan and checker Brian Skrudland ahead of players such as Kirk Muller and Guy Lafleur. However, Nilan and Skrudland both missed the game due to injury. As a result of Milbury's controversial roster picks, the league's board of governors changed their policy so that future teams would be chosen by committee.

New York Islanders

Season  Team               Lge Type      GP  W  L  T Pct      Result
1985-86 Boston Bruins      NHL Assistant        ---
1987-88 Maine Mariners     AHL Head      80 44 25  7 0.61875  Lost in round 2
1988-89 Maine Mariners     AHL Head      80 32 40  8 0.45000  Out of Playoffs
1989-90 Boston Bruins      NHL Head      80 46 25  9 0.63125  Lost in Finals
1990-91 Boston Bruins      NHL Head      80 44 24 12 0.62500  Lost in round 3
1995-96 New York Islanders NHL Head      82 22 50 10 0.32927  Out of Playoffs
1996-97 New York Islanders NHL Head      45 13 23  9 0.38889  Replaced Midseason
1997-98 New York Islanders NHL Head      19  8  9  2 0.47368  Out of Playoffs
1998-99 New York Islanders NHL Head             ---           Replaced Midseason

He is a well-known figure in the National Hockey League for his controversial (and often quotable) style, as well as for his penchant for blockbuster trades.

During several of the years that Milbury served as Islanders GM, the team's ownership mandated that he operate the team on an austere budget. In 1999 he was forced to trade star scorer Zigmund Palffy because team owners no longer wanted to pay his multi-million dollar contract.

However, Milbury has also been criticized for the many decisions he made in which payroll or orders for upper management were not factors. Many young players and prospects that Milbury traded away went on to have distinguished careers, often eclipsing those of the players he received in return. He has traded away defensemen Zdeno Chara, Wade Redden, Bryan Berard, Eric Brewer, Darius Kasparaitis, and Bryan McCabe; goalies Roberto Luongo and Tommy Salo, as well as forwards Olli Jokinen, Todd Bertuzzi, Tim Connolly, and Raffi Torres. Milbury has also come under fire for his draft day decisions such as choosing Rick DiPietro first overall in 2000 over Dany Heatley and Marian Gaborik; as well as his decision to include the 2001 second overall draft pick (Jason Spezza) as part of the Alexei Yashin trade.

In June 2006, Milbury stepped down as Islanders GM to accept a position as Senior Vice President of Charles Wang's sports holdings. In an appearance on Mike and the Mad Dog, Wang did not challenge a suggestion from the hosts that he "fired" Milbury. Milbury resigned from his Senior VP job in May 2007. He said that he missed making hockey-related decisions and would be open to a hockey operations job in another organization.[6]

Television work

American networks NESN, NBC, and TSN in Canada hired Milbury as an analyst for the 07/08 season. He also does the pre and post game analysis for the Boston Bruins and for the past 2 years he has participated in the broadcast of the Winter Classic. He is known for his trademark "take no prisoners attitude," "telling it like it is," and being gruff with his broadcast partners.

In July 2008 Milbury signed a 2 year contract with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Hockey Night in Canada.

He was employed by NBC to serve as a hockey analyst during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.


About agent Paul Kraus

Kraus was the agent for Islanders' star forward Zigmund Palffy. He and Milbury frequently butted heads.

  • "I think the agent is a moron and way in over his head."
  • "It's too bad he lives in the city. He's depriving some small village of a pretty good idiot."
  • "We hope that Ziggy will come to his senses. We have no hope Paul Kraus will."

On Eric Brewer

  • "The kid's playing like he's sniffing glue."

On Roberto Luongo

  • "We're rolling the dice here a little bit. Roberto Luongo is going to be an excellent goaltender in this league. He is a class act and a kid I know we would have been happy to ride with. But hell, I've gotta send him off."

On Bob Goodenow

  • "That was the most untrusting guy in the Goddamn world."

On himself

  • "I'm a 1978 Toyota with 86,000 miles on it, rust spots, and a hole in the floorboard. But hey, I start every morning."
  • "I'm trying not to be really annoyed. But you know me. That won't last long."
  • "If we are not better immediately....and if we are not a playoff team in the near future then it's off with my damn head." (6/25/00)
  • "It’s unbelievable that after more than 30 years in the game, pummeling a guy with his loafer will be my legacy. But I guess it's better than having no legacy at all."[7]

On Joining the New York Islanders

  • "Screw the Rangers. Screw the Devils." [8]


External links

Preceded by
Terry O'Reilly
Head coaches of the Boston Bruins
Succeeded by
Rick Bowness
Preceded by
Lorne Henning
Head coaches of the New York Islanders
Succeeded by
Rick Bowness
Preceded by
Rick Bowness
Head coaches of the New York Islanders
Succeeded by
Bill Stewart
Preceded by
Don Maloney
General managers of the New York Islanders
Succeeded by
Neil Smith

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