The NHL – The National Hypocrisy League

Updated: October 25, 2013

Welcome to the NHL, where you repeatedly play a highlight of a vulnerable, unsuspecting goaltender getting run over on a dirty hit to promote your “Wednesday Night Rivalry”, and then allow your commentators to condemn a player, a coach and an entire organization for one reckless hit.

It sounds ridiculous, almost unbelievable, but that exact scenario played out on Wednesday night when the Buffalo Sabres hosted division rival Boston Bruins for a nationally-televised tilt on the NBC Sports Network.flyingelbow

Whether they watched it live or not, just about every hockey fan is aware by now of the verbal lashings that commentators Mike Milbury and Keith Jones levied on John
Scott, both before and after Scott’s cheap hit on Boston’s Loui Eriksson. Prior to the game, Milbury referred to Scott as a “goon” and a “predator” , and following the contest said that Scott should be “out of this league”.

There’s no defending Scott. What he did was wrong, but it’s nonsensical for Milbury to spew this criticism when, as a player, he once climbed into the stands, ripped off a fan’s shoe and then beat him with it. It’s even more nonsensical to hear this now of all times from Milbury when Scott has already played over 100 games in the NHL. And it’s not as if he’s been a lifetime Buffalo Sabre; Scott was once a member of the prestigious Chicago Blackhawks club, and was even used in playoff competition. What was the reason behind that?

As Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville concisely explained back in April of 2011, “Size.”

Certainly interesting that Milbury suddenly became aware of Scott’s role as an enforcer in time for Wednesday night’s contest, and conjured all of his hypocritical ire for the national broadcast.

But Mr. Milbury was generous Wednesday night, he didn’t merely throw that hypocrisy at just one person. He went on to lambaste Sabres head coach Ron Rolston for the hit, claiming that Rolston is “way over his head” as an NHL coach and “[…] shouldn’t be afforded another game. Not one.” scottpunch

As the hockey world knows, Michael James Milbury has always been on a valiant crusade against dirty plays in the NHL, vehemently expressing his disapproval of such head coaches like the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Dan Bylsma for the many quagmires that Matt Cooke found himself in, or the Blackhawks coach Quenneville when Niklas Hjalmarsson sent Jason Pominville headfirst into the boards and stretched off the ice.

And who can forget the times that he called out the Boston Bruins organization for Johnny Boychuk’s two-handed slash on Thomas Vanek in the 2010 playoffs? Or Milan Lucic’s reckless hit on Ryan Miller in November of 2011?

Oh. Wait…

Unfortunately, Milbury will in all likelihood continue to keep his job as a commentator for the NHL’s premier broadcasts, because the NHL has proven time and time again that it is among the most hypocritical sports leagues going today.

The NHL continues to crack down on head shots and other dirty plays with the potential to harm players, but that doesn’t keep them from rolling the highlight reel of Lucic bulldozing Miller to get fans excited for the season’s first contest between the two clubs.

The fact that the NHL inexplicably deemed that hit justified was deplorable enough; that they have the audacity to advertise it, and then let their commentators berate an entire organization for a similarly cheap hit is simply disgusting.

Of course, this is the state of the modern NHL. It’s a sports league where Patrick Kaleta is targeted for his past and suspended on two different occasions where he was not assessed a penalty for his ‘infraction’ and the player deemed the ‘victim’ was not even hurt, but Boychuk and Lucic’s actions are dismissed, even though they were penalized in-game, and their victims had to leave the ice with injuries, and miss multiple games following the respective instances.

This hypocrisy is the very reason why players like Scott exist, and why Scott is a Buffalo Sabre to begin with. The controlling forces behind the league showed no intention to ever suppress the reckless behavior showcased by players like Boychuk and Lucic, and it was universally agreed across the league that Buffalo needed to be tougher when superstars like Vanek and Miller were taken out on dirty, violent plays.

For those who may be shocked, appalled and in disbelief to learn this for the first time, be assured, it’s the sad truth. There was no passionate outcry against the Boston Bruins by any NBC commentator for the cheap shots by Boychuk and Lucic. During an NBC Sports Network broadcast, analysts simply chuckled, grinned, and alluded to the idea that they NHL hoped the Sabres would man-up and take care of the situation on their own.

Earlier, some commentators apparently lost any ability to express emotion while watching Boychuk chop down Vanek like a lumberjack –

Is it favoritism for a large market, successful team? Is it disinterest in a small market, relatively unsuccessful team? Is it leeway for dirty players who also have a scoring talent? Is it pure incompetence? Whatever the reason, the NHL has a major issue on its hands when it comes to these dirty hits, and it has an even larger issue with the way it has failed to discourage them.

The worst part is, the NHL has only itself to blame for the existence of those two issues.

Wednesday night was an embarrassing night for hockey; but not so much for what happened on the ice, as what happened—and what’s been happening—off the ice.

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  1. AmySimonsen

    October 28, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    What would Kaleta or Scott get for this hit Tammy?

  2. TCanfield

    October 26, 2013 at 8:01 PM

    Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. jbaach

    October 26, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    dead on commentary the person that needs to lose his job was the only one talking he is a bafoon!

  4. max wheeler

    October 26, 2013 at 3:29 PM


  5. hkyfan

    October 26, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    jeromy Jacobs controls bettman who controls Campbell who controls shannahan. what a joke. what happened in the 2011 finals was street hockey.

  6. Ken Hetherton via Facebook

    October 25, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    So now you guys are blaming John Scott’s idiocy on Mike Milbury… that’s priceless. Please don’t become like Montreal Canadiens fans OK? I really hate them! John Scott is a slug. Recognize that and move on. Don’t misunderstand, Milbury is insane and once traded Zedeno Chara for a bag of pucks but still, John Scott is a slug… signed, a Toronto Maple Leafs fan.

  7. ozzfest89

    October 25, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    Look, I friggin’ hate both Crosby and Ovechkin, but to use them as examples of lopsided officiating or penalization, you have to show examples of those player behaving in such a way to deserve it.

  8. TammyKavanaghDickman

    October 25, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    I agree Nate, and excellent article that hits the vast majority of the problems with inconsistent discipline actions. Now if it has been Crosby or even Ovechkin that hit Eriksson, how would that have played out? No time served. Just a slap on the wrist from Shanahan saying “Now boys, don’t do that again, OK?” But players like Scott and Kaleta forget it…..the suspension book is thrown at them. Shanahan has his favorites and his not so favorites and that also needs to be adressed. Milbury is a disgrace to commentators…..

  9. George Root via Facebook

    October 25, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    Makes a lot of sense when it is put that way. I still think Scott is a goon, but the NHL does have selective memory when it comes to marquee teams like the Bruins and the Penguins.

  10. David Wright via Facebook

    October 25, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    Look up ‘mike milbury selects gons to go after ulf samuelson” on youtube milbury is a turd and a huge hypocrite

  11. Nate

    October 25, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Excellent article. I think it would be appropriate for both NBC and the NHL to acknowledge this subject, and specifically this incident on the Wednesday night broadcast. In addition to the points made by the author, I think in this case NBCSN crossed the line of professionalism.

  12. Kayla Kasper via Facebook

    October 25, 2013 at 12:50 PM

  13. Dondi Latimer via Facebook

    October 25, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    NHL = National Hypocrite League. GO SABRES!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Paula Gaumer Tooke via Facebook

    October 25, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    Very good editorial . . in a proper, journalistic way you have said what every Sabre (and any other non-large market team fan) has wanted to say but were not elloquent enough to say it. Well done . . .well done!

  15. Mark Wells via Facebook

    October 25, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    Great article. I agree 100%. Milbury was a goon then and now ignores cheap shots from his former team. NBCSN also hires Harrison to comment on the NFL and he was a dirty player then. Go figure.

  16. Jeff Clarke via Facebook

    October 25, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Great article. Truthful and well written. The powers to be in the NHL should stand in front of a mirror and take a long look at themselves.

  17. Charmayne Pollow via Facebook

    October 25, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    Dec 16, 2011 · Mike Milbury, the former Bruins coach and Islanders general manager, was charged with assaulting a pee-wee hockey player who was arguing with his son.

    Once I read this I always knew this guy was a bully and a BIG mouth nice example to show for his son. He needs to get a different job or leave his mouth at home with his ego!

  18. HockeyFan125974668533

    October 25, 2013 at 10:57 AM

    Very truthful , you hit the nail directly on the head, the League is creating it’s own problem by not addressing the issue which is to protect the players from being hurt. By the way I did not know about Mike Millbury had a anger/ shoe issue with a fan at one time in his past. From what I could see he still does have an anger issue……….

  19. Nick Heeren via Facebook

    October 25, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    Goes way back to Ottawa knocking out Drury. Sabres have to protect themselves because the NHL sure hasn’t.

  20. Michael Stephen via Facebook

    October 25, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    What an awesome article. This should be given to NBC and see what they have to say

  21. Michelle Delaney Zalone via Facebook

    October 25, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    Wonderful article. I can’t stand Millbury and I wished I had muted the tv and turned on local radio station to listen to their commentary.

  22. Douglas Rokitka Jr. via Facebook

    October 25, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    Every fan owner and player should read this and also shanahan

  23. Robyn Swierszcz via Facebook

    October 25, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    What a great article – Shanahan you need to get a handle on what the hell ur looking at and how to fairly assess situations – NBC/NHL you need to take another look at the goons you have on camera….they need to do their job and keep their noses out of team business

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