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Debate gets … heated between Milbury, Roenick

Mar 1, 2012, 8:32 AM EDT

No doubt about it, Eric Nystrom‘s hit on Kris Letang is likely starting a ton of heated debates in Dallas, Pittsburgh and plenty of other hockey circles.

If you were looking for a passionate exchange of ideas following the game, you didn’t have to consult a trusty message board or your local tavern, though. NBC Sports Network analysts Jeremy Roenick and Mike Milbury weren’t shy about disagreeing on the subject, as you can see in the video below.

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Video: Eric Nystrom’s hit on Kris Letang

Penguins slip by Stars in shootout thriller

  1. itsallniceonice - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:54 AM

    I liked Milbury when he was arguing with Kathryn but he has just become a crazy person on national television.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:54 PM

      He sounds like a little kid: “I’M RIGHT, YOU’RE WRONG. If you don’t like it you can leave.”

      Can anybody explain why this guy still has a job?

  2. gbiscottagecheesefatties - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    Milbury reason #842 of why he is a D-Bag

  3. jpelle82 - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    i wish JR wouldve knocked him out

    • paulsdamnblog - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:07 PM

      When Milbury put his hand on JR’s face, I honestly thought JR was going to drop him.

      • jpelle82 - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:05 PM

        me too…cant believe he restrained himself.

      • donfocker89 - Mar 1, 2012 at 5:44 PM

        Yeah more power to JR for holding back. After Milbury touched him you could see the look of pure (Oh no you did NOT just touch me) on JRs face.

  4. kneary47 - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    When will all these players stop putting themselves in dangerous situations. Lots of these head shots are happening because the players are skating into dangerous areas with their heads down hoping they are protected by the refs from being hit. Same thing with all the hitting from behind. Players are now turning their backs/stopping short of the boards with a d right behind them and expecting the d to just let them win the battle for the puck. I know its not their fault, but at some point you have to stop putting yourself in a dangerous situation.

    • odj810 - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:50 AM

      hard to disagree. There are alot of cheap blindside late hits. I love letang but he defanetly puts himself in a vulnerable spot with this play. Players have to protect themselves just as much as the league has to protect the players.

    • stakex - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:16 PM

      Thats why I have been saying for a while now that these new anti-headshot rules are going to result in MORE injuries, not less. Sure you might get guys to stop targeting the head, but the vast majority of headshots are accidental on guys with their head down. When you tell a guy “Don’t worry, no ones allowed to hit you in the head”, you are basically telling them its fine to skate into dangerous areas with their head down. If thats the case

      I know all the Pens fans around here are up in arms about this hit, but Roenick is right… theres very little head contact, and Letang put himself in a dangerous place. Did Nystrom ignore a puck he could possibly have player? Debatable, but that doesn’t change the fact that the hit itself was pretty clean… and if Letang was against the boards, and was prepared to take a hit like he should have been we would not be having a debate at all right now.

      The new rules have removed all responsibility from the guy getting hit. While thats fine in targeted head shots (its not my fault if you target my head after all), its has created a dangerous situation when players feel safe skaing into high traffic areas without proper awareness. So long as there is hitting, and so long as guys are skating around with their heads down we will be seeing hits like this. No rule is going to stop it, other then perhaps putting more burden on the player getting hit to avoid dangerous situations.

  5. lonespeed - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    I think they should put Pierre between them and go at it.

  6. subzero00 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    Hey Milbury just because you interupt and talk louder than the person you are debating doesn’t mean you won the arguement. J.R. is right on the hit and indicating players need to know where they are in space and where his opponents are on the ice. I believe Milbury thinks that no player is ever injured on a “clean” play and that is simply false.

  7. hairpie - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    Its amazing that there is so much of this going on and some fools still want to eliminate fighting from hockey. How many blind side hits did Yzerman, Sakic, Gretzky, Lemieux etc absorb?

    • elvispocomo - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:41 PM

      Enough for Hertz to say he was probably concussed a number of times in his career. Having Semenko or McSorely there to beat the guy up after didn’t stop him from getting his bell rung.

  8. firstandonlywarning - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    Rip off his shoe Mike

  9. mattryannolan - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    I like no one gives a crap about the hit on Dvorak. That was a dirtier hit than this one. The Punguins get the get baby treatment and it’s ridiculous. Just becase Letang is a bigger name and happen to get hurt its 10000x worse than the dangerous play that somehow didn’t kock Dvorak out.

    • mattryannolan - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:06 AM

      Lol Knock not kock…

    • jpelle82 - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:28 AM

      wasnt a bad or dangerous hit on dvorak

    • jpelle82 - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:40 AM

      orpik pulled up big time and didnt even have contact with him when he hit the boards. out of anyone on the ice that game, orpik is probably the most controlled and conscious guy you can find. dvorak was trying to reach around and put himself in a dangerous position. he was out of control going into it

    • jpelle82 - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:42 AM

      orpik pulled up big time and didnt even have contact with him when he hit the boards. out of anyone on the ice that game, orpik is probably the most controlled and conscious guy you can find.

  10. sunking1 - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    It would have been interesting to hear the debate. Instead it was like talking sports with your buds in the pub-both guys talking at the same time and, in their eyes, whoever talks loudest and over the other guy wins.
    Next time guys, remember you are on TV. One guys gets his point out and then lets the other guy respond. That way, we’ll be able to hear both of your points.

  11. san1jose1sharks - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    What’s next Milbury? Running clock and don’t post goals on the scoreboard after a 4 goal deficit? If you want to have a big boy discussion, then address the point JR was making about unintended consequence of legal hits. So far as your point about intent, then when will we ever have checking in hockey? By accident when you’re focused on getting to the puck? Of course there are legal, purposeful hits without intent to get the puck. It’s called separating the player from the puck. So you’re suggesting we only separate pucks from players with our sticks? If you’ll open up your eyes, you’ll see Letang deliberately but unsuccessfully trying to avoid the check, but paying the price for trying to make the play. Welcome to hockey.

    NBC – if you ever think about dumping JR for your vanilla, avoid-controversy, be politically correct, and act-like-you-own-the-place, I can’t believe you guys actually ever played hockey, alleged color commentators, you’re crazy, and idiot business people.

    JR is true color, knows his stuff, tells it like it is, has always made intelligent points even if others don’t agree and has a real passion for the game that I just don’t see with any of the others. He’s the only reason I tune in. He’ll never all into the “talking head” category.

  12. stakex - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    I fully agree with Roenick on this one. Theres very little head contact, the elbow is kept in, theres no targeting of the head, and he never left his feet. A relatively clean hit on a player who put himself in a dangerous position. I don’t see Nystrom getting suspended for that.

    One thing I will say is I think someone got to Milbury. Hes ALWAYS fighting against punishment for hits like this one, and has spoken out against the new rules a ton of times… yet now hes fighting that this hit, which was pretty much a clean hit, should recieve a 5 game suspension? How does that make sense? Seems pretty clear the network or the league has had a sit down with him and forced him to get on board…

    • baywatchboy - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:17 PM

      I thought the same thing at first, that there was very little, if any, head contact. The NHL is following the NFL by trying to take a lot of the hitting that occurs in a contact sport. Yes, something needs to be done about all the head injuries, but as @stakex stated, these rules will lead to more injuries.

      I buy that there was a penalty on the play. Don’t agree with it, but I buy it. No suspension though.

  13. bcisleman - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    If the careers of Crosby and maybe Toews are ended, the NHL may finally have to change its culture. The sport simply cannot afford to keep losing players like this. International rules allow for an exciting game in which headshots are rare because players know it means an automatic ejection and likely suspension.

    The worry is that ending the careers of great players will not be enough. Will it take another Bill Masterton tragedy? I hope not.

    Karen Schneider has recently published an article in SI that everyone looking at this issue should read:

  14. stevierod - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    Milbury is dead wrong on this… 9 times out of 10 the players will play the body in that instance. Letang put himself in a bad spot cause he wanted to avoid the contact rather than taking the body and moving the puck. Yes, it was an unfortunate play because Letang is a solid solid player. But the hit was not directly to the head, and was not intentional by any means, just look at the tape like JR said. I wish Kris the best in getting better cause the Penguins need him on their backline.

    Milbury is becoming the American version of Don Cherry (just without the colorful suits).

  15. bensawesomeness - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    As two of my least favourite commentators, i’m really upset this argument didn’t come to blows.

    (Getting concussions from a fight because of talking about concussions would be hilarious)

  16. lsxphotog - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    I love this kind of stuff. Passionate broadcasting.

  17. bsputnik - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    Milbury is dead on (first time I’ve ever said that) and JR is playing the same old, “let ’em play” routine that’ll get someone killed someday. Nystrom had zero intention of going after that puck and every intention of putting a huge hit on Letang. He was clearly aiming high If Cooke had laid out this hit, he would be gone for 10+ games and JR would have no problem with it.

    • buffhockeynutt - Mar 1, 2012 at 6:32 PM

      Agreed, bsputnik. If JR could have closed his mouth while Milbury was speaking (something Milbury accomplished), he would have heard his contention that the hitter now must weigh the effects of his action. I know we’re talking milliseconds but it’s no longer a matter of clean or dirty. The hitter must now determine beforehand where his contact point is going to be prior to that contact for this to subside and/or end.

  18. danphipps01 - Mar 1, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    Shame Roenick was so mature about this. Watching Milbury’s smug face get beaten in would’ve been nice. On the upside, though, I love JR even more than I already did as a result of this. Guy’s always got a carefully-considered opinion, and he’s not afraid to make it a controversial one. What’s not to love?

  19. earlcampbellrules - Mar 1, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    Please fire Milbury! He can use his spare time to beat up 12 year olds.

  20. brian32556 - Mar 1, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    Please FIRE MILBURY – he’s nothing but a blowhard! As soon as JR had his argument on the ropes, Milbury – who continually interrupted – then try to change the subject to Pierre Maguire’s interview. Milbury uses typical bullying and intimidating tactics versus ‘journalistic’ integrity. HE IS A BLACKEYE TO NBC’S ATTEMPTS TO BRING HOCKEY TO THE MASSES.

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