Mike Milbury

Mike Milbury

Mike Milbury
Milbury (left) awaiting a face off with Brian Sutter of the St. Louis Blues (pictured right) and Bruins teammate Charlie Simmer (pictured center) at the Boston Garden on March 21, 1985. (Final Score: Bruins 1-Blues 1/OT)
Born (1952-06-17) June 17, 1952
Brighton, MA, USA
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight 205 lb (93 kg; 14 st 9 lb)
Position Defense
Shot Left
Played for Boston Bruins
National team  United States
NHL Draft Undrafted
Playing career 1974–1987

Michael James Milbury (born June 17, 1952) is an American sportscaster currently working as an 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 head coach for the New York Islanders.


Playing career

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]

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. Milbury helped his team reach consecutive Stanley Cup Finals 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]

Coaching/executive career

Milbury is a well-known figure in the National Hockey League for his controversial (and often quotable) style, as well as for his penchant for being on the wrong end of blockbuster trades.

Boston College

On March 30, 1994, Boston College announced that Mike Milbury would take over as the head coach of the hockey team, replacing Steve Cedorchuk.[5] However, Milbury abruptly left the job at Boston College before coaching a game, citing "philosophical differences" with the school's athletics department in a press conference held on June 2, 1994.[6] BC eventually hired legendary coach Jerry York, then the Head Coach at Bowling Green University, to replace Milbury, while Milbury took work as a television analyst.[7]

Boston Bruins

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

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 from 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; goaltenders 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.

Television work

American networks NESN, NBC, Versus (TV channel), plus Canada's TSN hired Milbury as an analyst for the 2007–08 season. He also does the pre- and post-game analysis for the Boston Bruins, and for the past two years, he has participated in the broadcast of the Winter Classic. In July 2008, Milbury signed a two-year contract with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Hockey Night in Canada.

Shoe incident

Milbury gained 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 cut Stan Jonathan's face with a rolled-up program and grabbed his hockey stick. Terry 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, slapped him hard once with the sole side before being restrained. Subsequently NHL president John Ziegler suspended O'Reilly for eight games and McNab and Milbury for six, with each being fined $500. The offending fan was fined $500 and sentenced to six months in jail. This incident also resulted in the installation of higher glass panels enclosing rinks in hockey arenas.[8]

Career statistics

Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1971–72 Colgate University NCAA 25 0 10 10 50
1972–73 23 2 19 21 68
1973–74 28 4 26 30 85
1973–74 Boston Braves AHL 5 0 0 0 7
1974–75 Rochester Americans 71 2 15 17 246 8 0 3 3 24
1975–76 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 77 6 18 24 166 13 2 2 4 47
1977–78 80 8 30 38 151 15 1 8 9 27
1978–79 74 1 34 35 149 11 1 7 8 7
1979–80 72 10 13 23 59 10 0 2 2 50
1980–81 77 0 18 18 222 2 0 1 1 10
1981–82 51 2 10 12 71 11 0 4 4 6
1982–83 78 9 15 24 216
1983–84 74 2 17 19 159 3 0 0 0 12
1984–85 78 3 13 16 152 5 0 0 0 10
1985–86 22 2 5 7 102 1 0 0 0 17
1986–87 68 6 16 22 96 4 0 0 0 4
NHL totals 754 49 189 238 1552 86 4 24 28 219

NHL coaching record

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T Pts Division rank Result
BOS 1989–90 80 46 25 9 101 1st in Adams Lost in Stanley Cup Finals
BOS 1990-91 80 44 24 12 100 1st in Adams Lost in Conference Finals
NYI 1995-96 82 22 50 10 54 7th in Atlantic Missed Playoffs
NYI 1996-97 45 13 23 9 (70) 7th in Atlantic (Moved to GM's Role)
NYI 1997-98 19 8 9 2 (71) 4th in Atlantic Missed Playoffs
NYI 1998–99 45 13 29 3 (58) 5th in Atlantic (Returned to GM's role)
Total 351 146 160 45


  1. ^ 2009–10 Colgate University Men's Hockey Media Guide.
  2. ^ a b c Mike James Milbury (biography) – Legends of Hockey.
  3. ^ 1974–75 AHL Leaders – The Internet Hockey Database.
  4. ^ 1975–76 AHL Leaders – The Internet Hockey Database.
  5. ^ Martins, Gus (March 31, 1994). "Milbury moves on to BC". Boston Herald. 
  6. ^ Conroy, Steve (June 3, 1994). "Milbury BC not for me". Boston Herald. 
  7. ^ Baker, Jim (January 2, 1995). "TV Sports; Milbury, Lobel tear it up". Boston Herald. 
  8. ^ , Wednesday, December 23, 2009.The New York TimesSeminara, Dave. "Over The Glass And Into Lore,"

External links

  • Mike Milbury's career statistics at The Internet Hockey Database
  • The December 23, 1979 Boston Bruins vs. New York Rangers Mike Milbury Shoe Beating Incident on YouTube
Preceded by
Terry O'Reilly
Head coach of the Boston Bruins
Succeeded by
Rick Bowness
Preceded by
Lorne Henning
Head coach of the New York Islanders
Succeeded by
Rick Bowness
Preceded by
Rick Bowness
Head coach of the New York Islanders
Succeeded by
Bill Stewart
Preceded by
Darcy Regier
General Manager of the New York Islanders
Succeeded by
Neil Smith