rick jeanneret:

Sabres GIFs: “Mikhail YOU doin’?!?”

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…is just one of the many, many better ways Rick Jeanneret could have called Mikhail Grigorenko’s first career goal in the NHL (and ours involves a horrendous “Friends” reference). Instead, we got this:

Shoveled into the net from behind, and the Buffalo Sabres have managed to come back and tie this game, and they wanted the guy to get it, and the guy who got it was the fellow who was just signed into the NHL for a season early in the day confirmed, Mikhail Grigorenko!

 

We’ll absolutely give the Poet of the Pressbox the benefit of the doubt on his mouth-diarrhea, given his recent illness and general awesomeness. He’ll make up for it, folks.

And frankly, it kinda fits. I think all our brains went a little fizzy when our latest Buffalo Sports Savior notched his first goal. I think we all went a little giddy and goofy, and that’s a good thing.

Oh and speaking of giddy and goofy, this happened, too:

 

i3l1 Sabres GIFs: Mikhail YOU doin?!?

 

 

 

Good thing Mike Weber got in there to spray them with snow and cool them off before things got serious.

Put it all together, and here’s how it all went down after Grig’s first goal:

  1. Awkward, yet somehow fitting call
  2. Awesome hockey hug/dry hump
  3. Spray the rookie down hells yea!

Let’s not forget the goal earned the Sabres a critical point. And again, we give RJ all of the benefits of all of the doubts here. We advise you do the same. Otherwise, you have to go through:

Pegula 264x300 Sabres GIFs: Mikhail YOU doin?!?

This guy.

Rob Ray 300x207 Sabres GIFs: Mikhail YOU doin?!?

THIS guy.

Rick Jeanneret 3 300x152 Sabres GIFs: Mikhail YOU doin?!?

And then this guy and his blade.

Next up: the Boston Bruins. And things get serious. Don’t forget to enjoy the great moments like this one along the way.

Go Sabres.

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5 Big Reasons You should Tune in to Every #Sabres Game this Season

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Well, I’m back.

Blogging about… the NHL. I feel so dirty. Whatever. It’s time to put the lockout behind us and talk puck. Here’s a good starting point: 5 big reasons why you should tune in to every Sabres game this season.

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Jeanneret Undecided about Retirement, Meanwhile Earns Doctorate

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(For those of you who follow me on the Twitter, you’ve seen this already. For those who don’t, steel thyselves.)

(HEART)BREAKING NEWS:

Rick Jeanneret might not be on board for the 2012-13 Buffalo Sabres season. From YNN Rochester:

“I don’t know yet.” Jeanneret told YNN. When asked if he would return next season, he said. “I don’t know yet. No decisions have been made. No contracts have been signed, no decisions have been made.” Jeanneret added. “No one wants me to quit. I can tell you that. So I guess it’s going to be up to me to make that decision when the time comes. And I haven’t made it yet.”

Yikes. RJ is the one free agent that Sabres fans must have in the Blue and Gold fold next season – for as many seasons as possible, really. It is up to him as to what is possible, so we will all have to await his decision. Maybe this is just his way of continuing to keep us on the edge of our seats, but for the offseason.

(And no, I do not have his home address so please direct your “FLASH MOB AT RJ’S LAWN” requests elsewhere.)

While YNN was getting this mind numbing quote out of Jeanneret, WGRZ of Buffalo found the opportunity to share a much lighter story on our broadcasting icon:

Students attending the Canisius College undergraduate commencement ceremonies Saturday weren’t the only ones receiving a degree that day. Sabres play-by-play broadcaster Rick Jeanneret was among the few honorary guests who received a special honorary doctorate degree.

WGRZ did not indicate what the doctorate was awarded for, but we’re guessing something along the lines of broadcasting like your seat is on fire.

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"Hi, Doctor Rick!"

BackToSchool Jeanneret 300x199 Jeanneret Undecided about Retirement, Meanwhile Earns Doctorate

And cue the "Back to School" jokes in 3... 2... 1...

RJ, please DO NOT RETIRE. But if you must, as the great Thornton Melon once said:

Bring us a pitcher of beer every seven minutes until somebody passes out. And then bring one every ten minutes.

Go Sabres.

UPDATE: hit this link for new YNN video from the Canisius ceremony, in which Jeanneret said “I was just wondering at what point in the ceremony I was supposed tell the folks that I never graduated from high school. It’s something that I’ll always cherish.” Not sure if that’s a quip or an admission. Either way, his body of work earned him the fancy cap-n-gown.

Here’s a Youtube clip of the ceremony, and RJ accepting the honor. Thanks to the user who uploaded it.

 

 

 

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Rick Jeanneret: One More Year

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The season seems to be cruelly winding down for the Sabres.

Unless by act of miracle by our hockey gods, Sabres fans are looking at three more games with the Blue and Gold this season. It’s been a heroic run at the playoffs, and that’s been fun, but now the playoffs are a longshot at best.

But the anxiety and hope over this team isn’t disappearing for me. Instead, it’s switching over from the ice to the broadcast booth – to Rick Jeanneret, and the hope that he signs on for another season.

rick jeanneret 300x250 Rick Jeanneret: One More Year

RJ has been calling Sabres games in his unique and thrilling way since the 1971-72 season.

Before I go on, I should add that this post is not to alarm anyone. Rather, I’m putting these thoughts to print so that we savor every call in these last three games. Don’t take these three games for granted, not with RJ in the booth. (I’m assuming that he’ll be calling the away games in Philly and Boston that wrap up the season.)

I don’t need to tell any Sabres fan about how much it means to have his talent and personality with us along the way. If you do need a refresher, watch his Sabres Hall of Fame induction from earlier this season. It points out a lot of fond memories.

 

 

One other thing was pointed out to me when I first saw that clip – that little shake in his left hand. I can’t and will not speculate on what that might possibly mean, but I’ve noticed it throughout the season, and it’s been a subtle reminder to me that RJ is simply no spring chicken. Of course, that’s no secret.

Jeanneret has been shortening his play-calling schedule since the 2006-07 season. Between then and the 2010-11 season, he elected to take vacation time when the Sabres went on those long, arduous west coast roadies. Before then, he had notably only ever missed two games due to illness.

Before this season started, he sat down with Terry Pegula and Ted Black and worked out a part time schedule. As RJ himself put it, the idea is to lengthen his career by giving himself the rest he needs every now and then. We all would like for him to lengthen it for one more year – heck, we’d like another 40+ years.

This season, we’ve gotten a taste of what life will be when RJ inevitably hangs up his mike. Kevin Sylvester has been calling the play on those nights when RJ takes a break. There’s been a mixed reaction to his performance throughout the fan base, but that’s to be expected. Slyvester recently spoke to the WNY Hockey Report about it:

“I feel a greater responsibility to the fans, there is pressure here, you’re filling in for Rick Jeanneret.”

“I think I went through that in the previous seasons when I filled in,” said Sylvester.   “I realize that not everybody is going to like my call, particularly when compared to Rick. But I think most people are respectful of it.”

“I don’t pay attention to it because I’m a positive person and I like to stick with the positive things in life. If someone doesn’t like the way I call a game, I can’t change that for that person. That’s their choice.”

“There are probably people who don’t like how I host a show, I’m OK with that, I get that.  It’s like going to a movie. Not everybody is going to like the movie they went to see, that is what it is.”

“I think the greater challenge for me is to be accurate, be entertaining and continue to build and improve in my call. That’s what my goal has been.”

Many fans watching and listening have a strong connection to the work and the sound of Rick Jeanneret; but for Sylvester, it remains about doing the best job that he can.

“I’m here to call the Buffalo Sabres game,” said Sylvester.  “I’m here to announce the hockey game the best way I know how. I inject some of my personality into it. I’m doing that more now than perhaps at the beginning of the season.”

“I’ve looked to establish a base and then build from there.  If I look at it as I’m filling in for Rick, I would feel like I had to be like him. I don’t look at it that way nor should I try to be like him.”

Like many people in Buffalo, Sylvester is a fan of Rick Jeanneret.

“Everybody likes Rick including me,” confirmed Sylvester.  “He’s one of a kind, he’s a gem and we’re lucky to have him and I hope he continues on for as long as he wants to and is able to.”

Some wonder why Sylvester would put himself in the position of substituting for Jeanneret, but clearly he enjoys calling a National Hockey League Game.

“There are plenty of people who have asked ‘Why would you want to do that’?  The comment is always, you never want to be the guy who replaces a legend.”

“My response is, A: I’m not replacing him, no one can replace him.  B:  someone has to do it,  and C: who knows I might just be good. I look at a guy like John Murphy and what he’s been able to do on Buffalo Bills radio stepping in for Van (Miller) when he retired and Murph does a great job.  There are plenty of people, who certainly can’t do it, but Rick is one of a kind and most people recognize that, understand and appreciate that.”

I’ve been lucky to have been raised on Rick Jeanneret hockey, but just how good he is never really hit me until I was living out of town, and catching Sabres games through other teams’ broadcasts. I lived long enough south of the Mason Dixon line to know all too well the frustration of missing out on his play by play. I was part of a rowdy bunch of displaced Sabres fans down there, a hearty group that was never shy to shout at the big screens at the local BW3′s, and always prouder than ever over our goal celebrations when the Trivia Night announcer sighed into his microphone and said “Looks like the Sabres scored again.”

Goodtimes.

Then, there were those rare nights at that sports bar when we actually got to listen to the Sabres feed – usually about three times a year – those nights were completely different. The conversation was kept low and brief, until the commercial breaks when all the jokes and conversational bits my buddies and I had been trying to say would all spill out at once. Then, as soon as the game came back on, hands would raise up, and the attention would shift back to RJ. And of course, there was always that sudden rush of self-control when the Sabres scored a goal – despite how much we wanted to yell and whoop, we had to hold it all in, hold our breath really, until RJ’s goal call was complete.

After his call, we let all those whoops out in gushing streams. Anyone who talked over the call was in trouble, and had to pony up for the next round of drinks and wings.

This season, all Sabres fans have been given a healthy dose of life without RJ. He’s taken more nights off than ever before, and listening to Sylvester has been quite an adjustment for many – and one that none of us are ready for. Just like the boys and I held our breath at that BW3′s down South, we’ve all now learned what it feels to be waiting on RJ’s call.

Again, none of this is to alarm you – heck, not one bit of this notion should carry the slightest surprise to any Sabres fan. Still, at least for now, what we are looking at is just three more games with Jeanneret in the booth. That’s it, until he announces his intentions for next season.

We all know he’d like nothing else to be there with us in 2012-13, and the feeling is mutual.

Still, when the final whistle blows on the 2011-12 campaign, resigning Jeanneret will quickly become one of the biggest offseason questions.

Will he retire, or won’t he?

RJ, as always: we’re waiting on your call.

Go Sabres.

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I’m Thankful For Sabres Nation

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I am thankful for a great many things, not just today, but every day. Of course today is the traditional day to really take the time to think about what we’re thankful for. Health, relative wealth (or at least not impoverishment), great family and friends – these are the things we truly have to be thankful for.

But sometimes it’s about the “little things”, the things that help get us through a hard day. The Buffalo Sabres are a source of entertainment and inspiration for a great many of us.

For instance, last night, a battle royale with the Boston Bruins. We didn’t get the full two points, but it was an amazing contest to kick off the holiday weekend.  A spirited game by the Sabres, Gaustad taking on Lucic, Regeher versus Chara, tons of heart and entertaining hockey throughout most of the game. Not to mention some bonus four on four hockey and a shootout that went into extra innings.

In the end, it’s just a game and shouldn’t really change any of our lives, but it does. We cheer, we applaud, we cringe, we scream … and many of of cuss up a storm. We may startle our pets when a goal is scored or a Carruba Collision candidate happens.

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I'm thankful for hockey games breaking out at fights.

I still feel lucky that the team is around after the Rigas bankruptcy. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost ten years since we came close to losing the Sabres, but I never take them for granted. Perhaps I’m just scarred by the potential loss of the team.

I’m thankful for the new Terry Pegula era and what his ownership has brought to the team and the city. It’s been truly an amazing story that’s still unfolding and perhaps the greatest reason for this site’s existence.

I’m thankful for Rick Jeanneret’s calls, the way his voice cracks a bit  sometimes when he says, “SHO-TTTT”, and continually amusing me with his homer wisecracks. A bit of love for Harry Neale and Roby Ray as well, but mostly for their comedic antics, intended or otherwise.

I’m thankful for my partner @slackin who will watch any and every hockey game with me. I’m thankful she’s a Sabres fan as well and for one of the best gifts I ever got many moons ago – a Sabres goathead jersey. (I forgive the fact that she didn’t know who Don Cherry was until last night. After all, she grew up here in the cornfields of Ohio where hockey has been unknown until recently.)

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I'd be remiss not to point out being thankful for chicken wings and other Buffalo cuisine.

I’m thankful for other Sabres fans, because it wouldn’t be much fun if it was just two people rooting for the team in their living room. It’s the shared experience that makes it really special. The chatter on Twitter is always a blast, perhaps even moreso than going to a game for me. And of course there’s the most awesome @scottyMCSS, without whose witty and insightful prose this site wouldn’t exist.

I’m thankful that the Sabres goal is to win the Stanley Cup, that they have a spot reserved for it and are doing everything they can to attain it.

I could go on and on about individual Sabres, the Sabres management or a number of other things, but I think that’s enough from me. What about you? What are you most thankful for as a Sabres fan?

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