By B.D. Gallof, WFAN.com
Though disturbing in many ways, many fans probably cannot contain their mirth, disgust, or complete lack of surprise, that Mike Milbury, the Islanders' former coach and general manager, was charged with assaulting a minor late last week.
Milbury, currently a hockey analyst for NBC, was charged stemming from an incident during his son's peewee game in which he was an assistant coach. Toward the end of a game he reportedly seized, shook and screamed at an opposing player who was "bullying" his son, per Milbury's lawyer.
Parents who also took in the game had a different point of view from the Milbury law team. Witnesses said Milbury's son was more the aggressor, before his father allegedly escalated the altercation.
This is not the first public display of anger issues involving "Mad Mike." There of course was the legendary incident that featured Milbury, as a member of the Boston Bruins, going into the stands during a game at Madison Square Garden in the late 1970s and beating a fan with his own shoe.
Then there was his final day as an Islanders employee. Though the Isles at the time downplayed the incident by using the phrase "mutual decision" to relieve him of his duties, according to employees there was yelling and screaming between Milbury and team officials until he was out the door. Owner Charles Wang later went on WFAN and said Milbury was indeed fired.
A fiery TV personality who once described the Russia team as "Eurotrash" during the last Winter Olympics, Milbury has been an often negatively polarizing figure for many a hockey fan. Many Isles fans nearly had an apoplexy when he was recently spotted at an Islanders game trying to give some spin on his tenure on Long Island.
But there seems to be no spin that can be put on his often maddening track record.
What makes this latest accusation even more infamous, besides the fact there was a minor involved, is that the whole thing was caught on video.
For his part, Milbury recently told the Vancouver Sun, "I don't smack kids around."
Long Island kids growing up during his tenure might see things differently, having experienced his touch with the mostly young Islanders. This has nothing to do with literal alleged physical abuse, but Milbury is one of the primary reasons for more than 15 years of hockey follies on and off the ice with this franchise. He is also the primary reason, in this columnist's estimation, that the Isles lack so much traction in providing pressure on Nassau County for a new arena, what with his wrecking ball approach to general managing while he was the face of the front office.
Milbury left the Isles' system, prospect pool, and developmental program in tatters. If many fair-weathered hockey fans thought he was less than a stellar human being, many Islanders fans may think of him as the guy who roughed up a kindergarten class, because that's what the Isles were in age and appearance during much of his tenure. He is loathed because he's the guy who traded away most of the talent pool, only to replace it with a large percentage of dreck that is not even on the team anymore or just never made it to or in the NHL.
If you notice, during Milbury's rich history of bullying, it has rarely been against someone his own size. Such is the lot of a bully, passive to those more powerful, viciously aggressive and pointed to those they see as weaker.
Sadly, if he's found guilty of these charges, whatever punishment for his alleged actions against a poor kid just won't feel like enough. If anyone truly wants justice, Long Island fans, I'm sure, will be happy to send suggestions to the local court in Brookline, Mass.
They're Going Back To Winni ... Winni ...
The Islanders and Winnipeg Jets met back at the beginning of November at Nassau Coliseum, with the home team suffering through an early bout of offensive ineptitude. The visitors took advantage by playing a smart defensive game, resulting in a 3-0 win.
That was then, and this is now. Though the Isles have not answered all the issues that face them, they have played consistently better over their last 10 or so games, even though they haven't really shown it in the standings.
But you can expect a much more competitive game this time around, one that will come with a bonus: the Isles will be making their first trip to Winnipeg since 1996.
Only one season ago the Jets were the Atlanta Thrashers, but miscues and mistakes in the front office caused the then-owners to sell the team. The only high bidder, despite the NHL's desire to have them stay in the Southeast, was found in the True North of Canada.
What this showed was more than just a team moving to where the money was; it also showed the NHL's lack of influence in certain areas. When the Islanders lease ends with Nassau County in 2015, Quebec and Seattle might be big time players and buyers. The NHL's desire for the team to remain on Long Island might be as toothless as it was just last summer, as Atlanta fans now know all too well.
Atlanta is now team-less and there should not be an Islander fan that sits thinking about that without a chill crawling up their spine.
As the Jets hit the ice on a nightly basis, they symbolize a fatal flaw of NHL expansion/relocation, though it's fair to say Winnipeg initially should not have lost its team, either. The fact the fan base bought so many season tickets should be proof positive of that original sin as well. However, it should illustrate clearly the NHL's failure to keep franchises where they belong.
It's about as stifled as the Isles' offense was the last time these two teams played.
Clarification On The Corey Trivino Story
People seem to be assuming that I felt his parental situation or anything related were his "personal demons." I'm here to tell you my point is SOME of Trivino's personal demons contributed to his current predicament, him facing an attempted rape charge in addition to other accusations. My point is that something went wrong somewhere.
What were those things? That's up to the reader to speculate upon. I spent more time on Boston University winning an NCAA championship in 2009 and Terriers coach Parker's handling of the situation and his team's lack of leadership than anything else.
I do not agree with the scout's assessment. However, since that team scout was a key player in the 2008 draft and contributed valuable information, his quote was apropos to the story at-hand.
I am one of the most socially liberal people you are going to meet, but that doesn't mean that scouts, or we, can even allude to the fact than an NHL team was as equally socially liberal.
I hope that clears things up.
Please offer your thoughts on the Mike Milbury saga and where you think the Islanders are right now in terms of development and potential.
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