Please keep in mind that this is only a rumor at this time, but so far the evidence would seem to suggest that long time National Hockey League analyst Mike Milbury has been pulled off the NBC broadcast for at least the remainder of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Suspicion regarding what had happened with Milbury began to circulate on Friday when Milbury was not part of the NBC broadcast crew and was instead replaced by another long time NHL broadcaster in Eddie Olczyk. At the time we could not officially say that Milbury had been bumped off the air because he was not included in the schedule released by NBC prior to the games. It should be noted that since the Milbury incident NBC has no longer included the names of their broadcast staff in those announcements.
The decision from NBC was preceded by a statement from the National Hockey League itself which condemned statements made by Milbury during a game between the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders this week. This would appear to lend credence to the speculation that he was pulled off of the broadcast rather than merely being scheduled on a different day.
That alone would have been enough to raise suspicion about what is going on with Milbury but now there are early reports suggesting that the NBC analyst has also left the bubble. Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star is reporting that he has been informed that Milbury was spotted at a Toronto Airport which would appear to indicate that he is leaving the bubble in Toronto.
For those of you who missed the controversy stirred up by Milbury this week, he landed himself in some hot water when he made comments implying that women were distractions to the young men playing in the National Hockey League. I personally did not take Milbury's comments as being derogatory towards women and even criticized one reporter who called for Milbury's job over the statements made on the NBC broadcast. I felt instead he was referencing how male athletes can perform better when kept away from their partners, something combat athletes like Muhammed Ali and former UFC champion Daniel Cormier have practiced during their own careers.
Milbury has since apologized for the comments stating that he was trying to be "irreverent", but I would be lying if I didn't add that I suspect the apology was forced on him by both the NHL and his employers at NBC.
As I stated at the top of this article everything right now is just pure speculation, but with reports already filtering out about Milbury's potential departure from the bubble I have no doubt we will hear something official in short order.
Regular updates will be added to this article as they become available.
Update: Arthur is now reporting that Mike Milbury has been sent home by NBC.