Sabres sellout pay tribute to announcer Rick Jeanneret

From: Razz (RAZZMAN) 2 Apr 09:47
To: Carl (SPARTACUS) 1 of 149
It was like old times. Say 12-15 years ago. The sellout Sabres crowd was the loudest heard in years. They were there to pay tribute to their long-time play-by-play broadcaster Rick Jeanneret. This was a night dedicated to the man who has been behind the mic for 51 years. His voice has resonated on the radio and TV broadcasts of Sabres games for almost their entire history. This was a night the fans got to show their appreciation for all his hard work and famous quotes on game-winning goals over the years.

I haven't heard a crowd this loud in many, many years. In fact, there hasn't been a sellout at a Sabres game for quite a few years. Crowds of around 6,000 have been the norm this year for the team that hasn't made the playoffs in 11 years. The current team has not heard such a roar and backing from a packed house ever. They responded in-kind, giving the 19,710 a highly entertaining game, winning 4-3 over Nashville. They posed with Jeanneret after the game as most of the crowd stayed on to roar once again for their bombastic announcer.

RJ gets his 'beautiful noise' on amazing night in Sabres history

By Mike Harrington

Many of the words were memorable, even downright profound in spots. The emotions were heavy in a lovely way from start to finish. The banner in the rafters – neatly featuring a microphone – looks like it's been there forever. And now it will be.

But what we'll remember most from RJ Night is the noise.

It's what this hockey town has lacked so often in the last 11 years because there hasn't remotely been enough to cheer for.

The roar when Rick Jeanneret walked that blue carpet from the Zamboni entrance to take his place for Friday night's pregame ceremony was epic. And it didn't stop. We haven't heard any sort of ovation like that in KeyBank Center in ages. The chants of "RJ, RJ, RJ" resonated deeply. There was no way for owner Terry Pegula – who got booed when his name was mentioned – to give his remarks over the din.

Pegula then neatly improvised and waved his arms, exhorting the crowd to turn up the noise even more. Got the crowd back on his side. And the fans followed instructions. Said Pegula finally in cutting his remarks short, "I'm supposed to say something about Rick, but I think the crowd just said it all."

It was more of the same when Jeanneret wrapped his speech by simply saying to the crowd, "I love you."

Current partner Rob Ray brought down the house when he represented the alumni by saying simply, "You deserve to be in the rafters as much as anyone who ever wore the uniform."

From: Carl (SPARTACUS) 2 Apr 10:50
To: Razz (RAZZMAN) 2 of 149
He was a class act too. Boston had a guy like that Bob Wilson. I grew up listening to him. He was in the same vein as your guy.
From: Razz (RAZZMAN) 2 Apr 11:11
To: Carl (SPARTACUS) 3 of 149
It was really great to see and hear the packed house loud and crazy. They haven't had that since they were last in the playoffs. RJ had a unique voice for calling the plays. His famous quotes were when Brad May scored the 7th game OT winner over the Bruins years ago....

"May Day! May Day! May Day!"

Check this out:

And when Pat LaFontaine scored a goal...."La..La...La...LaFontaine!"

When the Sabres beat the Sens in a 7th playoff game. "This team is SCARY good!"

Here's a few of his great calls:
EDITED: 2 Apr 11:12 by RAZZMAN
From: Carl (SPARTACUS) 2 Apr 15:12
To: Razz (RAZZMAN) 4 of 149
I will check em out when I get a chance. He is a legend.
From: Razz (RAZZMAN) 2 Apr 15:40
To: Carl (SPARTACUS) 5 of 149
At one time, RJ also was doing CBC HNC broadcasts. He worked with Harry Neale on CBC and also during Sabres broadcasts. He does have that Hockey Night in Canada voice.
From: Carl (SPARTACUS) 3 Apr 10:56
To: Razz (RAZZMAN) 6 of 149
Speaking of announcers, I still miss Don Cherry.
From: Razz (RAZZMAN) 3 Apr 11:06
To: Carl (SPARTACUS) 7 of 149
I thought about Don Cherry and what he's doing now. I forget the remark he made that got him fired.
From: Carl (SPARTACUS) 3 Apr 15:36
To: Razz (RAZZMAN) 8 of 149
It is an excellent example of the woke culture and the destruction it is doing to society. Bring back the Cherry. He always made me watch and laugh.
From: Razz (RAZZMAN) 3 Apr 18:26
To: Carl (SPARTACUS) 9 of 149
I did like watching Don Cherry and his wild attire. Not sure what he's doing these days. Probably has a podcast.
From: Carl (SPARTACUS) 4 Apr 10:39
To: Razz (RAZZMAN) 10 of 149
Cherry was one of a kind and always entertaining.
From: Razz (RAZZMAN) 4 Apr 10:41
To: Carl (SPARTACUS) 11 of 149
I wonder if he's selling his wild ties or sport coats on Ebay?
From: Carl (SPARTACUS) 4 Apr 11:01
To: Razz (RAZZMAN) 12 of 149
Cherry does have a weekly podcast on Spotify. I might check it out.
From: Razz (RAZZMAN) 4 Apr 11:57
To: Carl (SPARTACUS) 13 of 149
Cherry should do what Trump did and create his own Twitter. He could call it DogBlue.
From: Carl (SPARTACUS) 4 Apr 12:00
To: Razz (RAZZMAN) 14 of 149
I suspect that Trump "twitter" is in trouble. I do not even think it is working otherwise we would hear stuff about it.
From: Razz (RAZZMAN) 4 Apr 13:25
To: Carl (SPARTACUS) 15 of 149
I think that we should make our own version of Twitter called BirdSong.
From: Razz (RAZZMAN)30 Apr 10:26
To: Carl (SPARTACUS) 16 of 149
It was a perfect ending to a glorious broadcasting career for Rick Jeanneret. The Sabres and Blackhawks went into overtime tied 2-2. Jeanneret was calling his last Sabres game before heading into retirement. I expected to hear Rick's famous quote when regulation ended...."We're going into OOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVEEEEEERRRRTIIIIIIMMMMMEEEEE!" Shockingly, he just said "We're heading into OT."

What??? He blew the perfect opportunity to perform his swan song, his glorious last note. That would finally come when the Sabres scored the gamewinner and Jeanneret's immortal voice bellowed "The Sabres win in "OOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVEEEEEERRRRTIIIIIIMMMMMEEEEE!" I stood up and applauded and cheered when he finally roared that.

A perfect way to end his Hall-Of-Fame career. A clip of that winning goal and his commentary will be heading to Toronto to enter Hockey's HOF for sure.

Here's the clip of his last call:

Last Call goes to ohhhhhhhhhh-vertime for Rick Jeanneret

Mike Harrington

We got to roll the highlight film one more time Friday night in KeyBank Center.

And how else would you expect Rick Jeanneret's career to end?

The sounds. That voice. We'll never forget it. Jeanneret got to call one last winning goal from the Buffalo Sabres in the final game of his career, a Casey Mittelstadt rebound off a Dylan Cozens shot 2:07 into overtime that was the margin in a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.

The real Last Call after a season of them: "They slap away at it on the wall. It's taken back by Jokiharju. He got it across ice. Cozens' shot, right on. They scorrrrrrrrrre!! Casey. Casey at the bat. Casey Mittelstadt hammers it home and Buffalo wins it in ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhvertime."

No, it wasn't Brad May or Jason Pominville or Maxim Afinogenov, Danny Briere, Rene Robert or the countless other memorable goal scorers Jeanneret has called over the years in overtime. But it was a wholly appropriate way to finish.

"It was a great way to end it for RJ," Mittelstadt said. "(Cozens) and I were talking. We were pretty proud to be his last call."

The Sabres trailed, 1-0, through two periods but the hockey gods weren't going to let Jeanneret's career go quietly. It took until there was 15:44 left in the third period for Jeanneret to finally get a goal call as Tage Thompson buried his 38th goal of the season.

It went like this: "It's kept in to Skinner. He cleared it in front of the crease. They scorrrrrrrrre! Tage Thompson. There he is. That baby is home and it's a tie game at 1. Tage Thompson strikes again."

Chicago went back ahead again, but Owen Power "powered one home" to tie the game. And Sabres fans were thankful South Buffalo's Patrick Kane missed a great chance late in regulation to set up the winner.

The 79-year-old Jeanneret had a parade of pregame well-wishers, including family members visiting the press box. The door to Booth 702, his lair high atop the 300 level since the building opened in 1996, was covered with thank-you messages from fans. A few minutes before faceoff, the folks from La Nova did a pizza delivery to the booth.

Even a key segment of the media's pregame meal was at RJ's request. No, he didn't ask for filet mignon. He just wanted his beloved press box hot dogs, lost during the pandemic, to come back for a night. Request granted.

"Pretty nice when you can set your own menu," cracked analyst Rob Ray during one break in play during the second period.

"Yep. It was," said a smirking Jeanneret.

The game broadcast began with a pretaped segment of congratulations from the players, capped by Kyle Okposo giving the final greeting.

"So for one last time," Okposo said, "we'd like to send it up to the greatest play by play announcer of all time, Rick Jeanneret."

"Whoa. I say Woo, Woo," Jeanneret said, mimicking Alex Tuch's postgame victory call that's been a hit this season on social media. "I'm thinking about the Danny Gallivans and the Foster Hewitts of this world. Thank you for the tribute. Thank you for the introduction, gentlemen. It's muchly appreciated."

(Hewitt and Gallivan were two of Jeanneret's broadcast heroes as they thrived for decades in Toronto and Montreal, respectively).

Then virtually without taking a breath, it was time to go to work and Jeanneret transitioned without missing a beat as the puck was dropped by simply saying, "Meanwhile back at the ranch, the puck is cleared on into the Buffalo end."

In his pregame chat with reporters, Sabres coach Don Granato was musing how the seasonlong celebration of Jeanneret was good for his young team to get a deeper understanding of the meaning of an organization and not just a hockey team on the ice.

"He's a living legend. He's a fun guy to be around and it's helped me personally," Granato said of Jeanneret. "... You can't explain it to somebody that hasn't been in it and felt it. Having everybody celebrate RJ this year meant they celebrated 50 years of Sabres hockey, so everybody is celebrating a lot. Our guys can kind of immerse and feel that and feel the history and the pride in this organization, in our fan base, in the Sabres in the Sabres logo.

"It was very impactful. This was a very impactful season for a group of guys that we have here, young guys that we know we're going to have for a pretty long time. And so the timing made my job a lot easier,  my life a lot easier. Definitely. So thank you, RJ."

Several of the Sabres wore skins on their skates during warmup with pictures of Jeanneret, a creation by Buffalo-based Just Dishin' at the urging of Rasmus Dahlin.

When the game ended, Jeanneret came down to the ice to shake hands with fans who were there to collect players' jerseys. He shook with the coaching staff and General Manager Kevyn Adams, then patted his chest to the crowd and left the ice, headed into retirement.

"I don't want this to sound like a eulogy. It's more of a celebration really," Jeanneret said in his final words to the television audience. "Time passes for everyone. Eyesight fails, as does reaction timing. With me it works like the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Heh. It's the first time I've ever quoted the Bible. Thanks for traveling around with me on this road for the last half-century. All of you. Thank you very kindly. It's been a helluva ride."
From: Carl (SPARTACUS)30 Apr 14:02
To: Razz (RAZZMAN) 17 of 149
Thank you for sharing. For a sec, thought they won the Cup....
From: Razz (RAZZMAN)30 Apr 14:39
To: Carl (SPARTACUS) 18 of 149
Yea, it was a wild celebration. After, Rick came down on the ice (was helped by the player so he wouldn'tf all on the ice) and he shook hands with the coach, players, GM and a lot of Sabres folks.
From: Carl (SPARTACUS) 1 May 09:25
To: Razz (RAZZMAN) 19 of 149
He was a character. We had a guy like that Bob Wilson. He was in the same mold.
From: Razz (RAZZMAN) 1 May 09:35
To: Carl (SPARTACUS) 20 of 149
The play-by-play guy the Sabres have now, Dan Dunleavy, is OK, more traditional and not as colorful. He's been with the team for a few years now and the fans have gotten used to him.