The Vacation: Experiencing Hockey without Rick Jeanneret

Matthew YoungContributor IJanuary 20, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 18:  Jason Pominville #29 of the Buffalo Sabres is congratulated by teammate Steve Montador #4 after Pominville scored a third period goal against the Phoenix Coyotes during the NHL game at Arena on January 18, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Sabres defeated the Coyotes 7-2.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Hi. My name is Matthew, and I'm a Rick-aholic.

Sorry. I just had to get that off my chest. I've watched and listened to Sabres hockey since I can remember, and every game that I can remember has a great Rick Jeanneret call to remember it by. This past week, RJ took his yearly winter vacation in Florida and I've had to cope without him.

During the Phoenix game, I found myself criticizing fill-in announcer Kevin Sylvester for "not saying it right." When the Sabres scored two minutes in, I couldn't help but think that Rick would've sounded just a bit more excited. Not to say that Sylvester didn't do his job well; in fact he was quite adequate.

He just wasn't Rick.

And then yesterday, with Jeanneret still on vacation, we viewers in Western New York were subjected to something much, much worse. They gave us the Anaheim feed. The away team's broadcasters! I turned it off after four minutes, and not just because the Sabres had dug themselves a hole so deep they heard digeridoo music.

This has been the roughest week of the year. Oh, the Sabres have done pretty well. But the last few games just haven't felt the same. The Sabres just aren't the Sabres without Rick Jeanneret calling the games.

I shudder to think what will happen if and when he retires.  Hopefully, that won't come for a very long time.

Come back Rick, and soon!