Mike Milbury sorry for 'punk' remarks

Updated: April 3, 2012, 8:30 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Hockey analyst Mike Milbury apologized Tuesday for critical comments made about Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.

Labeling Crosby "a punk," Milbury, the former NHL coach and general manager, criticized the Pittsburgh center on a Philadelphia radio station on Monday. He called out Crosby for his role in instigating a game-ending brawl in Sunday's contest between the Penguins and Flyers.

In hindsight, I realize what I said was inappropriate and wrong, and I want to apologize to the Penguins organization and their fans.

-- Mike Milbury
apologizing for ripping Sidney Crosby

"I reached out to [Pittsburgh president] David Morehouse and the Penguins about the comments I made yesterday on Philadelphia radio," Milbury said. "In hindsight, I realize what I said was inappropriate and wrong, and I want to apologize to the Penguins organization and their fans."

Milbury is an analyst on NBC and also appears on CBC. He called Crosby "little goody two shoes" and also referred to "his 35th concussion."

Crosby fired back at Milbury after Pittsburgh's morning skate Tuesday.

"I don't really know what he's looking for," Crosby told ESPNBoston.com. "If he's looking for attention or what? I don't know what it is. I don't have much to say there. I don't know where that came from and you can really twist something a certain way and he's obviously showing he's capable of doing that. He's pretty good at twisting things around, that's for sure."

Crosby also took offense to the "punk" label.

"My style is not different than a lot of guys to be honest," Crosby said. "I think if you're to look at the way I play, when I play the game I play to create offense and to score goals. If you are to dissect everything and show my responses to certain things sometimes, yeah I do certain things out there. But they're usually in response to two or three things that have been done prior to that. But you don't usually see that, you just usually see the response."

Milbury spoke to Sports Radio 94 WIP Monday, a day after the chaotic scene in the waning moments of Philadelphia's 6-4 victory resulted in 52 minutes in penalties being assessed between the two teams.

The fighting was touched off in part by Flyers forward Brayden Schenn's crosscheck to Crosby.

"Little goody two shoes [Crosby] goes into the corner and gives a shot to Schenn. Schenn was late to the party, he should have turned around and drilled him right away, but I guess better late than never," Milbury said.

Crosby I don't know where that came from and you can really twist something a certain way and he's obviously showing he's capable of doing that. He's pretty good at twisting things around, that's for sure.

-- Penguins captain Sidney Crosby
on Milbury's comments

"So you know, Crosby gets cross checked, big whoop. He said after he came back from his 35th concussion, 'I'm not going to do this anymore, I'm not going to get into this scrums, I'm going to stay away from that stuff.' He couldn't help himself because there's a little punk in Crosby.

"He's not the perfect gentleman. He's not the sweet kid you see in interviews with his hat pulled down over his eyes."

Crosby said he never has claimed to be nor does he view himself as a "sweet kid" on the ice and he had no issues with Schenn's crosscheck.

"The crosscheck that Schenn had, that's really not something that's out of the blue," Crosby said. "That happens pretty much every game to be honest with you and as far as me slashing someone, that's hockey. I guess I'm not a gentleman out there on the ice, I will say that. There are times where it's a contact sport and I do get involved myself sometimes. But I don't think I've gotten one penalty in a scrum since I've been back, so I just want to clarify that because I know that was something that was up for debate."

Crosby denied he has been treated differently since returning from two concussions this season.

"I think it's been pretty much what I experienced prior to getting a concussion," he said. "I've never said or made it be known like I feel like guys are coming after me. Let's be honest, guys aren't going to give me a lot of space out there; they're going to try and knock me off my game. But I think it's been pretty normal as far as what I experienced prior to getting a concussion."

Penguins general manager Ray Shero wasn't amused by Milbury's comments.

"If it was an attempt at comedy, it falls real short," Shero told ESPN.com. "It's fine to have an opinion on players but when you're making light of concussions, that's not right. I've gone through this with my own kid [who had a concussion], obviously we've gone through it as a team with Sidney Crosby and saw what it took for him to battle back from it over the past year; there's nothing funny about post-concussion syndrome.

"I don't think it would have been very funny had he made fun of [concussed Flyers captain] Chris Pronger in that light. There's nothing funny about [former Flyers captain] Keith Primeau having to retire from it."

Crosby's agent, Pat Brisson, also believes Milbury's apology isn't enough.

"Milbury went too far this time attacking the very sensitive issue of the concussion," Brisson said. "A simple apology isn't accepted in this case. The real way to treat this disease is by either suspending or firing Milbury. Plain and simple "

On Monday, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette was fined $10,000 for calling out his coaching counterpart, Pittsburgh's Dan Bylsma, over the incident from bench to bench. Penguins assistant Tony Granato, who stepped on the top of the side boards and in between the two head coaches, also was fined $2,500.

Laviolette was upset the Penguins' fourth line took a shift shortly after Jakub Voracek's empty-net goal concluded the scoring.

During the shift, Penguins forward Joe Vitale leveled Flyers center Danny Briere shortly after the ensuing faceoff, starting off a chain of events that included Crosby's run-in with Schenn, as well as Laviolette smashing a stick over the glass.

"Those guys hadn't been out there in 12 minutes," Laviolette said in his postgame news conference. "It's a gutless move by their coach. It's gutless."

Flyers assistant Craig Berube backed up Laviolette on Tuesday, calling Crosby and fellow Penguins star center Evgeni Malkin "the two dirtiest players on their hockey team."

"They slash, they punch guys in the face, they do all these little things," Berube told CSN Philly according to NBCSports.com. "I got no problem with what Schenn does, and if somebody runs (Crosby) over, that's great, they should run him over. This guy gets away with too much in my opinion, whines to the refs all day and all night, it's a joke."

The two teams meet again on Saturday, and likely will face each other in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs next week.

"It's not totally uncommon," Milbury said of Laviolette's behavior. "I can remember being on such a perch, or at least trying to climb over the boards to get at somebody to make a point.

"And I thought Dan Bylsma should have taken off his skirt and gone over there."

Information from ESPNBoston.com's James Murphy and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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