04/27/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Milbury, "Eurotrash'' and a Russian Hockey Disgrace

Mike Milbury should not have used the word "Eurotrash'' Wednesday night to refer to the play of the Russian hockey team after it lost to Canada, 7-3, in an Olympic hockey quarter-final game.

The term borders on an ethnic insult and it stokes a negative flame of jingoism that often burns beneath the surface of an event brightly lit by a torch of world brotherhood.

But Milbury and other commentators were right to denounce the play of the Russian team. In the era of National Hockey League participation that began in 1998, no national side has ever looked worse in an Olympic tournament game than the Russians did Wednesday.

They quit and they quit early. The Russian coach, Vyacheslav Bikov, did not help by refusing to change goalies until it was too late and failing to get advantageous line matchups despite having the edge of last choice in personnel moves before faceoffs.

But Milbury was right when he said of the Russian players: "I was shocked . . . There was no heart, no guts, no nothing.''

Fans of the N.H.L. are used to Milbury's ungoverned tongue and aggressive behavior. As general manager of the Islanders, he verbally baited opposing teams and his own players.

When he played for the Boston Bruins, Milbury entered the seating area at Madison Square Garden with his teammates to fight Rangers' fans and famously was filmed as he beat a spectator with the man's own shoe.

Some viewers are saying Milbury should be suspended by NBC for Friday's semi-finals which pit the United States against Finland and Canada against Slovakia.

Perhaps that would be justified, but no more so than a suspension of Canada's Dan Boyle for his intentional and dangerous tripping of Russia's Alexander Semin.

Don't count on a Boyle suspension. With two consecutive victories, the Canadians have regained momentum in this tournament. They have home-ice advantage. The International Ice Hockey Federation is unlikely to do anything to rattle their cages.

Except for the Russian humiliation, Wednesday's four quarter-finals provided tremendous entertainment and exposure for the sport. Even NBC seems aware, showing full games on its backup cable networks and shelving plans for tape-delay telecasts in some regions on Friday. Instead, NBC will carry the events live, as it should with all Olympic events.

With snow pounding down atop the homes in some regions and winter winds howling, it will be a good weekend to put a few logs in the fireplace, heat up the hot chocolate and enjoy the conclusion to a special tournament.