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There's no debate that the games from Vancouver were choice, but the off-ice drama last night came courtesy of Mike Milbury after Team Canada's 7-3 victory versus the Russians. Milbury, never one to hold back -- or verbalize anything of relevance, for that matter -- offered this opinion regarding the Russians' performance:

"I was shocked that this was this one-sided and I was really disappointed that these guys came with their, their Eurotrash game. It was just no heart, no guts, no nothing there to back it up."

(Ed. Note: Video available here.)

The reaction on Twitter was interesting to say the least. One of the most perplexing moments came courtesy of Elliotte Friedman, who wrote that the comment was fair, then claimed that he didn't understand if the term was controversial or not. Alrighty then.

Here's the thing: We all know Milbury's M.O. at this point. His feeble attempts at edginess tend to bite him in the ass on a regular basis. It seems to me that he was desperate to insult the Russian team and grasped at the first disparaging word he could think of.

Unfortunately, there are two problems here. One, "Eurotrash" is generally considered as a descriptive slang term that has nothing to do with sport. For a loose definition that's generally accepted by most (keep in mind this is a term that you are not going to discover in your average dictionary) read descriptions 1 and 2 here.

Obviously, Milbury was attempting to use the term, albeit incorrectly, in a much more literal manner. And that's where the issue lies for many.

"Trash" is already a fairly harsh word to use to describe a team's game. Granted, the Russians surely didn't show, but there's no need to stoop to that level. However, the addition of the "Euro" adds fuel to the fire. "Their Eurotrash game," as Milbury put it, suggests that this is some sort of condition that is only identifiable in a certain type of player from overseas.

Trust me, there are people who are much more upset about this than I am (Dmitry Chesnokov for one). I'm not as offended as he is. What bothers me the most, is Milbury's need to take unnecessary jabs at teams/players -- he does it with such unabashed ignorance that it would be considered unprecedented, if not for a weekly exposure to Don Cherry every Saturday night.

The man wanted to criticize European players*, lacked the wherewithal to do so in a constructive or comprehensive fashion and ended up using a term that didn't even apply. Somehow, I'm not surprised.

Remind me again why he's on television to begin with?


*Russia is part of the continent of Asia, but don't tell Mike. It'll blow his mind.

8 responses to "Mike Milbury and the Continental Refuse"

  1. Yo, I agree completely. He didn't just say that it was a 'trash' or 'low-effort' game. He connected those concepts with a whole group of people. This implies that to be European is to be slovenly, lazy, superficial. I don't know why he felt he had to bring ethnicity into it.


  2. Your point is valid about non-Euros lacking intensity; Jason Spezza, for example, has the intensity of a wet sponge (And likely the non-hockey IQ to boot) but people say he's a "two-way player"...you do get the occasional people saying North Americans lack heart, but it's far easier to point to Europeans who are less gregarious and vocal (as a perception) than NAers are.

    It's really going to take more than Nick Lidstron captaining a Cup team to get rid of this perception as well. There are going to have to be multiple Euro captains winning the Cup before the stigma of cold, passionless players leaves the mainstream.


  3. Absolutely. There's plenty of real substance to criticize the Russian team for from the GM on down. Because they were committed to including KHL players, because of a mistaken belief that the KHL is on par with the NHL, they didn't have the best team. There were inexplicable coaching decisions, perhaps based on a different philosophy, but still; most striking in this regard was the timing of when Nabakov was pulled. And, of course, individual players made questionable plays. But, still, to impute all of this to national character, using negative stereotypes, is completely unnecessary. If Milbury wanted to be edgy, he would have been spot-on to say simply that the Russians sucked.

    Aside from that, if the NHL wants to grow the game, with national broadcasts in the US, having a racist, bigoted commentator does not serve that end. Milbury's already been called on the carpet in Canada for language that, apparently, NBC and NESN found unobjectionable. He just doesn't learn.


  4. Spezza is one of the hottest players in the NHL right now - if that is lack of intensity, I'll take some more of it. He is, of course, everyone's favourite whipping boy in Ottawa, but if they ever traded him, the very next day the team would begin to look for a, "big, playmaking centre" - you know, like the guy the fans just ran out of town.

    Dennis Prouse

  5. Get over it.


  6. Get over what, exactly? The "Chubbs"? Can I do so on skates?

    The Universal Cynic

  7. Get over your hypersensitivity to an offensive comment.

    Milbury is a dinosaur, no doubt about it. But it's a little disingenuous to pontificate as you do, considering some of the venom I've read here.


  8. I fully admitted to not being as offended as some were -- what really bugged me was the fact that Milbury was taking a jab without fully comprehending what he was saying. That's not being hypersensitive. Furthermore, I may be harsh, but I've never come after an athlete solely due to their nationality. Comparing this blog to Milbury is a reach to say the least.

    The Universal Cynic