Mike Lange had plenty of reasons to be smiling like a butcher’s dog on Tuesday night.
Before the Penguins’ game against the St. Louis Blues, the team surprised the legendary and unique broadcaster with a special presentation honoring his 40th season in the booth.
Just before their team meeting at 5:15 p.m., the players brought Lange into the locker room and captain Sidney Crosby presented him with a No. 40 “Lange” jersey.
“I don’t know whether to smile like a butcher’s dog or scratch my back with a hacksaw,” Lange said as he entered the room. “Everything that I’ve accomplished comes from this logo and organization. And all of you people from generation to generation.”
Lange was also presented with a plaque by his broadcast partner Phil Bourque.
“For 40 years of service. You make every night a hockey night in Pittsburgh,” Bourque said.
A larger version will be hung permanently in the media level, which is already decorated with many of Lange’s trademark catchphrases – including Buy Sam A Drink And Get His Dog One Too, Shave My Face With A Rusty Razor, She Wants To Sell My Monkey, Scratch My Back With A Hacksaw, He Beat Him Like A Rented Mule, Get In The Fast Lane Grandma, and Elvis Has Just Left The Building.
Lange, who was inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001, has sat in the media levels of countless arenas calling over 3,000 Penguins’ games with his creative and colorful style beginning in the 1974-75 season, when he broke into the NHL as a play-by-play man. He left for one season, but returned in 1976-77 and has been with the organization ever since.
“You all keep me young,” Lange joked. “I appreciate this. Thank you to each and every one of you and all the players from throughout the years.”
Lange did radio exclusively for the Penguins until 1979, when games were simulcast on radio and TV. He served as the television voice of the Penguins through 2005-06, before returning to the radio booth in 2006-07.
The Penguins have been fortunate enough to feature numerous franchise talents and some of the best to ever play the game over the years – from Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, and Tom Barrasso to Marc-Andre Fleury, Evgeni Malkin, and Crosby. And Lange has been the man who’s called every single one of their incredible saves, highlight-reel goals, and Stanley Cup-winning plays. It’s truly amazing to think about.
The players gave Lange an ovation and he left the locker room he added:
“All the best. Go get ‘em, boys.”