Milbury needed bodyguard protection from Canucks fans after disrespecting Sedins

Mar 22 2023, 7:30 pm

Mike Milbury has said and done many controversial things during his five decades in hockey, but only twice did it result in him needing a bodyguard to ensure his personal safety.

One of those times came in Vancouver, when the outspoken former player, coach, general manager, and broadcaster drew the ire of Canucks fans.

During the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, Milbury mocked Henrik and Daniel Sedin, calling the future Hall of Famers “Thelma and Louise” after the Canucks’ Game 4 loss in Boston.

With the series heading back to Vancouver for Game 5, Milbury apparently needed protection. So he had a 6-foot-5 bodyguard by his side.

“I had two occasions where NBC hired bodyguards for me. The first one was Vancouver… I called [the Sedins] Thelma and Louise,” the 70-year-old Milbury said during an interview with the Spittin’ Chiclets Podcast.

“He had to follow me everywhere until I left Vancouver. But I survived.”

The second time a bodyguard needed to be hired for Milbury was during the 2017 Stanley Cup Final in Nashville. Milbury said he received threatening phone calls from Nashville fans after he applauded Sidney Crosby for roughing up P.K. Subban, saying, “Subban had it coming.”

Milbury actually has experience fighting NHL fans himself — he famously once hit a man with his own shoe during a brawl in the stands in New  York.

The sexist comment in 2011 wasn’t well received by Henrik and Daniel, who had heard plenty of lazy and disrespectful things said about them during their illustrious careers. They had been called “sisters” regularly on local radio in the early 2000s.

“My son told me a man was making fun of me and Uncle Danny on TV,” Henrik said at the time. “I said that can’t be true because that’s what usually happens in kindergarten. That’s what happened. Sometimes grownups have low self-esteem and get on guys and say stupid stuff.

“I think he has to be happy with his career. He did a great job on Long Island. I’m sure he is happy with that.”

In a way, Milbury actually helped build the 2011 Canucks. He was the GM of the New York Islanders that sent Todd Bertuzzi and Bryan McCabe to Vancouver in 1998. Bertuzzi was later traded by Vancouver to Florida for Roberto Luongo, while McCabe was a major piece in the trade that helped the Canucks land both Sedins.

Milbury traded Luongo too, which was just one of his most embarrassing deals. He sent Luongo to Florida in 2000, along with Olli Jokinen, for Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha.

Another future Hall of Famer Milbury traded was Zdeno Chara, who was packaged with the second-overall pick used to take Jason Spezza in a disastrous 2001 trade with the Ottawa Senators.

“Usually, the guys who sit in those situations, they’re called experts. They’re there for a reason, I think. We don’t really worry about those kind of comments,” Daniel said after the derogatory remarks back in 2011. “He made a bad comment about us, calling us women. I don’t know how he looks at women. I would be pretty mad if I was a woman.”

“I think it’s okay if you criticize us… that’s not a problem. We know we have to play better and there’s been a lot of times where we got criticized, but if you make fun of us on TV… I think that’s what you do when you’re kids, not when you’re grownups.”

Milbury eventually got fired for a sexist on-air comment in 2020.

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