The Buffalo Sabres today announced that 70 of the team’s regular season games in 2011-12 will be broadcast on the MSG Network and that 12 of the team’s games will be part of national telecasts on the newly-combined networks of NBC and Versus (to be re-launched as NBC Sports Network on Jan. 1 2012). Every game of the 2011-12 season will be televised on either MSG and NBC/Versus and will be produced in High Definition.
MSG’s coverage of Buffalo Sabres games will include the team’s two games being played in Europe (Oct. 7 vs. Anaheim and Oct. 8 vs. Los Angeles) as part of the NHL Premiere Series.
Returning to the MSG broadcast this year will be the venerable broadcasting team of Rick Jeanneret and Harry Neale. Jeanneret and Neale will be calling a slate of 57 regular season games (39 home, 18 away), with Kevin Sylvester and Danny Gare taking over the remaining 23 games. Sylvester and Gare will begin their schedule with the Sabres’ Nov. 5 game at Ottawa. Their schedule will include one home game (Feb. 24 vs. Boston) and 22 road games. Rob Ray, who has been part of the broadcast team since the 2003-04 season, will join Jeanneret and Neale as a second color analyst during their games.
MSG broadcasts will also feature a pre- and post-game show before and after each game. The pre-game show, sponsored by Tops Markets, will be hosted by Sylvester and newcomer Brian Duff. The show will contain player features, a game preview and analysis by Sabres broadcast talent, including Ray and Mike Robitaille.
Duff, the current host of NHL on the Fly on the NHL Network, is the latest addition to the veteran roster of Sabres broadcast talent. He brings with him over 15 years of broadcast experience on both radio and television for the Edmonton Oilers, the Ottawa Senators and the Toronto Maple Leafs. In addition, Duff worked at The Score as an anchor and reporter and provided play-by-play for Ottawa Rebel lacrosse and the Mann Cup. Duff has also freelanced for key U.S.-based media outlets including ESPN and Associated Press.
Returning this year will be the Lexus Postgame Show, featuring highlights and exclusive player interviews. The Lexus Shootout can be seen following every Sabres home telecast on MSG. Originating from Studio 200 at HSBC Arena, Sylvester will be joined by Ray and Robitaille for complete post-game analysis and player interviews. The first intermission of each MSG telecast is sponsored by Verizon, and the second is sponsored by Northtown Automotive.
The Sabres’ nationally-televised games will all be carried on the joint networks of NBC and Versus. Versus will carry five games before it re-launches as NBC Sports Network on January 2, 2012 and will carry another five games in 2012. The team’s game against Pittsburgh on February 19 will be carried on NBC and the April 7 match-up with Boston will be carried on either NBC or NBC Sports Network.