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Winnipeg Jets brass puts lid on helmet party planned by team’s fans

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By John Rolfe

One of the more amusing ideas for celebrating a spirited player-fan exchange has been nixed in the interests of respect.

You may recall the incident in the video above, when Winnipeg Jets defenseman Adam Pardy had his lid lifted by an overzealous Blackhawks fan after the glass gave way during a tilt at Chicago’s United Center on November 6. A few days later, Dave Wheeler, the host of a morning radio show on Winnipeg’s 92 CITI FM was moved to call for a “Helmet Pardy” where Jets fans would wear hockey headgear to the team’s rematch with the Blackhawks at MTS Center on Nov. 21.

Alas, the Jets have announced that no one but players will be allowed into the building unless they are sporting proper headwear. Stetsons, stovepipes, straw hats, fedoras, pork pies, bowler derbies, propeller beanies, turbans, and humble ball caps are all fine — but no helmets. We’ll let Jets Chairman Mark Chipman explain why:

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  • Published On Nov 20, 2013
  • Don Cherry credits Mike Milbury for Alex Ovechkin’s turnaround

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    Alex Ovechkin sports a new business-like haircut.

    Did Mike Milbury’s barbs drive Alexander Ovechkin to the barber for a more down-to-business hairdo and mindset? (Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Don Cherry’s critics are going to have a field day with this one.

    Asked about the remarkable turnaround of Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals, the bombastic TV star offered up a unique take.

    “Mike Milbury, I think, deserves a lot of credit here,” Cherry said on Toronto’s Fan 590 radio station. “He’s not getting it. He’d come on and he ripped Ovechkin – he should be ashamed of himself, boom boom boom, and called him every name – and that’s when Ovechkin changed.

    “And if you people have noticed – and I haven’t said it on Hockey Night in Canada, I might yet – have you noticed after a game, he just gives it a [fist] pump?” Cherry asked. “Have you noticed that? Have you noticed he’s got nice short hair, he doesn’t look like a wild man anymore? Adam Oates has got to him and said look, get off this celebrity thing. And what happened was, he was more of a celebrity than he was a hockey player. He forgot.

    “And you know, when I went to the Bruins, that’s the same thing happened to me — I got there, they had gold chains on and all that stuff, and they were celebrities there, they forgot to play hockey. They loved the life, they loved the travel, the only thing that got to them, they didn’t like the hockey. And you know, that’s what made Bobby Orr great, and I’ll tell you why: he had no businesses, he did nothing, all he wanted was to play hockey. And that’s the name of the game and Ovechkin’s right there now. He’s playing hockey instead of being a big-time celebrity.”

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  • Published On Apr 25, 2013
  • Mike Milbury calls for vigilante justice against Matt Cooke

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    By Allan Muir

    Now that Alex Ovechkin is back in his good graces, NBC Sports analyst Mike Milbury has a new target: Pittsburgh forward Matt Cooke.

    Milbury struggled to find the right words to describe his disdain for the edgy forward ahead of tonight’s game between the Pens and Sens. He did not have any trouble describing what he’d like to see, though.

    “Should I try putrid? Cowardly? Because this guy’s a skunk, he’s a freakin’ skunk!” Milbury stammered. “I think somebody ought to set him straight and I hope it’s Ottawa tonight but if it doesn’t, I don’t care who it is.”

    “They might have to do something, just like the rest of the league,” he continued.

    Milbury acknowledged that Cooke had reformed his act somewhat after his vicious hit ended the career of Boston’s Marc Savard, but his game seems to be trending back towards the grey area after his hit on Erik Karlsson left the Ottawa defender with a sliced Achilles’ tendon. Case in point: his questionable hit on Boston’s Adam McQuaid on Saturday afternoon.

    “That’s either a charley horse if you’re lucky or a knee [injury] if you’re not,” Milbury said of that collision. “It’s gutless and it should be out of the game.”

    It’s been a banner week for Cooke haters. Boston announcer Jack Edwards was forced to apologize after comparing Cooke to Robert Kennedy assassin Sirhan Sirhan during Saturday’s broadcast.


  • Published On Apr 22, 2013
  • Milbury to Ovechkin: “Act like a man, for God’s sake!”

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    Alex Ovechkin has 15 points in 18 games this season. (Cal Sport Media).

    Alex Ovechkin has 15 points in 18 games this season. (Cal Sport Media).

    By Allan Muir

    If Mike Milbury ever admired Alex Ovechkin, it’s a safe bet that he’s long since allowed his fan club membership to lapse.

    The bombastic NBC Sports Network analyst brought his lunchpail to the rink every day as a player, so he’s never had much patience for athletes who appear to get something less than the maximum out of their prodigious natural talents.

    Ovechkin has made himself a frequent, and easy, target of Milbury’s wrath over the past couple of seasons. But after a very rough start to 2013, he’s gotten his game back on the right track over the past few games. Not yet up to his previous standard, but you could see the effort, the beginning of a turnaround.

    HACKEL: What’s wrong with Alex Ovechkin?

    That should have been enough to keep him out of Milbury’s crosshairs during tonight’s broadcast of the Caps/Flyers tilt. But Ovechkin basically loaded both barrels for Mad Mike with a stupefyingly soft performance through two periods.

    GALLERY: Best and Worst of Mad Mike Milbury

    And in between the second and third, Milbury set upon Ovie with great vengeance and furious anger.

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  • Published On Feb 27, 2013
  • NHL tries to restore order

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    Refs seem to have rediscovered the idea that sending a player to the box and leaving his team in a potentially costly penalty-kill is one of the best ways to curb on-ice mayhem. (Mark Goldman/Icon SMI)

    By Stu Hackel

    Perhaps Wednesday will go down as the day the NHL regained some control over the Stanley Cup playoffs and did it in the most logical manner – having the referees call penalties rather than “let the boys play.”

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  • Published On Apr 19, 2012
  • Mad Mike Milbury’s act is obsolete

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    Mad Mike Milbury often slings sexist cliches like “hit ‘em with your purse.” (Photo by Mary Altaffer/AP)

    By Stu Hackel

    At some point, Mike Milbury is going to have to come to terms with the 21st Century. His future employment as a hockey opinionist on television may depend on it, but the contemporary world is obviously not one in which he is comfortable or happy.

    For a few years, since he left the employ of Charles Wang and the Islanders — we won’t bother rehashing his many questionable moves as Isles GM other than to say they were how he picked up, and even embraced, his nickname “Mad Mike” — Milbury has done triple duty as a studio voice on Hockey Night in Canada, NESN and NBC/Versus/NBC Sports Network. It’s a passionate voice, that’s for sure, and hockey is a passionate game. On the surface, it seems like a good match.

    Milbury’s problem is that his passions too often go unchecked. He clearly has trouble controlling himself when the camera is on and the mic is live, and he says things that reveal thoughts that really don’t do his image much good. He may not care about that, but he’s also a spokesman for the networks who employ him and the sport he’s worked in for pretty much his entire career. In those capacities, he is not exactly a shining representative.

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  • Published On Apr 04, 2012
  • Nystrom’s hit on Letang bares a Rule 48 shortcoming

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    By Stu Hackel

    What line did the Stars’ Eric Nystrom  cross on Wednesday night in Dallas when he collided with the Penguins’ Kris Letang? Was it a legal hit? A targeted head shot? An unfortunate accident? It’s a question more easily asked than answered.

    And it’s an important one — not just for Letang who may (or may not) have suffered his second concussion of the season as a result — but also for the NHL and its ongoing quest to help keep them game as physical as possible while ridding it of deliberate attempts to target the head. This is the kind of play that falls in between those efforts.

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  • Published On Mar 01, 2012
  • Can Erik Karlsson win the Norris?

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    Only 21, Erik Karlsson has blossomed into the NHL’s best offensive defenseman. (JC Salas/Icon SMI)

    By Stu Hackel

    It’s a bit too early to say whether Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson will be one of the NHL’s three Stars of the Week next Monday — and because it will be trade deadline day, who is even going to notice? — but he’s got a great head start with seven points in his last six periods of play.  With his goal and two assists in Ottawa’s 5-2 win over Washington on Wednesday night, Karlsson leads all NHL defenseman in scoring with 60 points — 20 more than his closest pursuer, Florida’s Brian Campbell.

    Karlsson’s 47th assist on Wednesday set a new Sens franchise record, breaking Norm Maciver’s mark of 46 set during the team’s inaugural campaign of 1992-93. He’s now only three points shy of Maciver’s team mark of 63 points by a d-man in a season.

    Playing in a small market is part of the reason Karlsson hasn’t gotten the acclaim he should. It doesn’t help matters when NBC’s Mike Milbury touts him for the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year, as Milbury did last night, either not realizing that Karlsson has already played two full seasons or perhaps confusing him with Devils rookie Adam Larsson.

    Karlsson is just 21, and obviously doesn’t have the name recognition nor resume of Shea Weber, Nick Lidstrom or Zdeno Chara. But he has zoomed to the top ranks of blueliners this season. Last season (yes, Karlsson indeed played last season), he was a minus-30 on a poor, directionless team. Today, he’s plus-15 on an excellently coached club that is one of the NHL’s surprises — and he’s a big reason why they are.

    So the inescapable question is, should Karlsson be the favorite for the Norris Trophy as top NHL defenseman?

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  • Published On Feb 23, 2012
  • Did the Lightning trap the entire NHL?

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    By Stu Hackel

    Isn’t that video above terrific? On Wednesday night, Tampa Bay’s 1-3-1 defense against Philadelphia forced Mike Milbury to storm off the set in Versus’s studio during the second intermission, and that’s reason enough for us to nominate the Lightning’s Guy Boucher as not just NHL Coach of Year, but also for the The George Foster Peabody Award for distinguished and meritorious public service to television.

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  • Published On Nov 10, 2011
  • Is the NHL backing down on boarding?

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    If the NHL really wants to rid itself of dangerous hits, going light on repeat offenders like Daniel “Carbomb” Carcillo of the Blackhawks is not the way to go about it. (Chris Seward/ZUMAPRESS.com)

    By Stu Hackel

    As we turn the calendar page to November, it’s as good a time as any to review and assess  things in the NHL, and while we have lots of surprises with teams exceeding or falling short of expectations, no performance is more intriguing than the league’s Department of Player Safety (a name we can’t write without thinking it sounds like a government branch that oversees highway construction or traffic enforcement — if not the French Revolution’s Committee on Public Safety from 1793, which protected the new republic from internal and external enemies by using the guillotine as its preferred instrument of deterrence).
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  • Published On Nov 01, 2011


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