The Buffalo Sabres announced that both Rick Jeanneret and Harry Neale will work a limited schedule next year that accounts for roughly 60 of the 82 regular season games the Sabres will play. Jeanneret has had a 39 year career that has slowly been coming to an end since the NHL lockout. Every year, Rick seems to take more and more games off as a vacation.
Buffalo sports teams have had the luxury of having announcers that have created their own legacies. Bills fans had Van Miller and Sabres fans have Rick Jeanneret. The Sabres organization announced that both Rick and Harry Neale will work a limited schedule next year that will include all home games and a handful of road games. The slow gradual replacement of Rick Jeanneret is both good for Rick and Sabres fans. It gives us the chance to be able to hear Rick make one more call and it still gives the Sabres organization a chance to find a replacement for Rick when he actually decides to hang up the microphone.
The Sabres haven't announced who is going to replace Rick and Harry on the road and the franchise has gone through a bunch of different announcers in previous years during Rick's vacations. Kevin Sylvester, Paul Hamilton, Mark Jeanneret, and Dan Dunleavy are among possible replacements that have already called a game for the Sabres. Rob Ray could suffice as a color commentator and Danny Gare has come back into the fold after leaving Columbus.
The transition could also mean the Sabres will make a change back to two separate announcing crews. The Sabres haven't had separate television and radio crews since 1995 when the organization decided to simulcast the television broadcast onto the radio. The Sabres are one of the few organizations that only have one announcing crew but there was an obvious reason for that.
The Buffalo Sabres are synonymous with Rick Jeanneret. Every legendary Sabres call has some sort of Jeanneret influence on it and not being able to hear Jeanneret call a game will be an adjustment for all Sabres fans. Sometimes change is good and sometimes change is necessary. Besides, Rick's calls will live forever on Youtube, but there is still one special call that Sabres fans are clamoring to hear.