7/27/07

Milbury unplugged in Friday's Newsday

New York Islander Fan Central | 7/27/2007 12:06:00 PM
Interesting stuff from Milbury in Newsday on Friday...

http://www.newsday.com/sports/hockey/islanders/ny-spmedia275308925jul27,0,3276941.column?coll=ny-hockey-headlines

Ex-Isle GM Milbury will join NBC's hockey team
July 27, 2007

'Mad Mike" sounded mostly happy and calm on the phone yesterday, content to have veered off in a direction on which Hempstead Turnpike does not appear on the map. Well, technically it could, but NBC doesn't make many stops at Nassau Coliseum, so Mike Milbury is free to
go - both professionally and personally.

He plans to move off Long Island with his family after a dozen years in residence, probably to his native Boston area, and will begin appearing as an NHL studio analyst for NBC in January.

Why TV? Remember, this is a guy who, when he resigned in May as the Islanders' senior VP of marketing and sales, left open the possibility of joining another front office; he told Newsday he wanted to pursue "things I'm much more passionate about than ticket sales."

"The first thing is, you only have to work 25 days out of the year," he said yesterday. "It's kind of like stealing money."Maybe it's just the change of pace for a guy who at 55 is coming off a 12-year stint with the Islanders that covered four sets of owners, nine years as GM, three terms as coach and controversial trades."I managed to survive that long against long odds," he said.

"It was an interesting time on Long Island." Of the ownership turmoil, he cracked, "We were leading the league in convicted felons."That's the kind of funny, edgy line NBC is counting on from Milbury, who essentially will replace Brett Hull, another quote machine who left to work in the Stars' front office.The best part is Milbury can be less reserved than ever; his employers want him to speak out. "I'm totally unfettered, and I'm looking forward to it," said Milbury, who last did regular TV work for ESPN before he joined the Islanders.Gone will be the emotional feedback from the masses. "I put pressure on myself to get the job done," he said. "But I've had 15,000 people crying for my head in the Coliseum or 15,000 cheering for me in Boston and other places. It's not that kind of pressure."

Milbury would like to get in some TV work in the fall before NBC picks up the NHL in January, but it is not clear whether the Peacocks will let him work for Versus.NBC will abandon its Rockefeller Center set and take its "studio" show on the road, featuring Milbury and Pierre McGuire.

As for the Islanders, Milbury praised the job general manager Garth Snow did and said that under the right circumstances - an improved facility would be nice - they still can succeed as a franchise."Having been in the front office and listened to the fans and sponsors, there certainly is enough interest there to keep it a viable product," he said. "It's a proven hockey market."Milbury would not rule out working for a team again but said he is not looking ahead. Sometimes it's nice to finish a season undefeated.

"This could be a fun way to make a living," he said. "Talking about hockey on TV? Like I said earlier: stealing money."

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