Mike Milbury, right, is not a Penguins fan favorite these days.
By Dave Molinari Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
BOSTON -- NBC hockey analyst Mike Milbury apologized to the Penguins Tuesday.
He apologized to their fans, too.
But he never mentioned the two members of the organization, center Sidney Crosby and coach Dan Bylsma, he skewered and belittled during an interview with a Philadelphia radio station Monday.
Milbury's statement, issued by the NHL office, read as follows:
"I reached out to [Penguins executive] David Morehouse and the Penguins about the comments I made yesterday on Philadelphia radio. In hindsight, I realize what I said was inappropriate and wrong, and I want to apologize to the Penguins organization and their fans."
During that interview, Milbury said Bylsma "should have [taken] off his skirt and gone over there" to confront Flyers coach Peter Laviolette when the latter smashed a stick on the glass and climbed onto the boards to yell at the Penguins bench after center Joe Vitale dropped Daniel Briere of the Flyers with a hit late in Philadelphia's 6-4 victory Sunday.
Assistant coach Tony Granato climbed onto the boards at the Penguins bench during that incident.
Milbury, though, saved particular bile for Crosby, calling him "Little Goodie-Two-Shoes," referring to him coming back from "his 35th concussion" and saying that "he writes the book on whining."
Crosby, asked his reaction to those comments after the Penguins game-day skate Tuesday at TD Garden, said initially that "I don't have to get into that," but then offered a brief retort.
"I don't know what he's looking for, if he's looking for attention or what it is," Crosby said.
"I really don't know where that came from. You can twist something a certain way, and he's obviously shown he's more than capable of doing that. He's pretty good at twisting things around, that's for sure."
Milbury also said that Crosby is "not the perfect gentleman" on the ice, something Crosby acknowledged.
"As far as me slashing someone, that's hockey," he said. "I guess I'm not a gentleman out there on the ice sometimes. I'll say that.
"There are times when, it's a contact sport, and I do get involved ... but I don't think I've gotten one penalty in a scrum since I've been back [from a neck injury that forced him to miss 40 games]."
Crosby also noted that opponents routinely target him for physical abuse.
"My style is not different than a lot of guys, to be honest," he said. "If you're to look at the way I play, I play the game to create offense and score goals.
"If you are to dissect everything and show my response to certain things sometimes, yeah, I do do things out there. But they're usually in response to probably two or three things that were done to me prior to that.
"If you really know the game, most players are going to go out there and try to provoke that stuff, to have me retaliate or get me off my game. And there are times where that does happen.
"But I think that, for the most part, if it was that easy to knock me off my game, guys would do a little bit more of it."
Rest for No. 1 goalies
The Penguins still were trying to lock up home-ice advantage for Round 1 of the playoffs -- and still had a mathematical shot at first place in the conference going into the Tuesday night games -- but Bylsma maintained a big-picture perspective and started backup goalie Brent Johnson against Boston.
Part of the rationale, he said, was to give Johnson, who recently missed 17 games because of an unspecified injury, a chance to sharpen his game.
The top priority, however, was to give No. 1 goalie Marc-Andre Fleury "some rest going into the playoffs."
Bruins coach Claude Julien also gave his go-to goalie, Tim Thomas, the night off, starting Marty Turco.
The Penguins are scheduled to be off today. ... Granato, fined $2,500 for the late-game incident between the benches Sunday, has declined to discuss it publicly.