By Allan Muir
If Mike Milbury ever admired Alex Ovechkin, it's a safe bet that he's long since allowed his fan club membership to lapse.
The bombastic NBC Sports Network analyst brought his lunchpail to the rink every day as a player, so he's never had much patience for athletes who appear to get something less than the maximum out of their prodigious natural talents.
Ovechkin has made himself a frequent, and easy, target of Milbury's wrath over the past couple of seasons. But after a very rough start to 2013, he's gotten his game back on the right track over the past few games. Not yet up to his previous standard, but you could see the effort, the beginning of a turnaround.
That should have been enough to keep him out of Milbury's crosshairs during tonight's broadcast of the Caps/Flyers tilt. But Ovechkin basically loaded both barrels for Mad Mike with a stupefyingly soft performance through two periods.
And in between the second and third, Milbury set upon Ovie with great vengeance and furious anger.
Among the bon mots he peppered into his 90-second diatribe:
"This is an awful display of hockey...he should be ashamed of himself!"
"You don't have to act like a baby!"
"This is ridiculous embellishment. He should be embarrassed by this and so should his teammates...Act like a man, for God's sake!"
"God almighty, that's just so disheartening to see a player with that kind of talent fall that short in terms of effort."
Even Keith Jones, the Grover Dill to Milbury's Scut Farkus, got in on the act.
"They pulled Braden Holtby and Ovechkin's going to play the whole third period. How does that work?"
Check it out below. The best part? Milbury gets so worked up at the end that he has to take it out on his notes. At least no one was beaten with a shoe this time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aicwKSikBeM