A new-look broadcast team to go with the new-look Sabres - The Buffalo News

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A new-look broadcast team to go with the new-look Sabres

Former Buffalo Sabres goaltender Marty Biron, who found it easier to stop shots than to stop talking, is involved in one of four new wrinkles in the team's broadcast plans this season for coverage on MSG.

The loquacious Biron has replaced Brad May on the pregame, intermission and postgame shows and also will be an analyst on a limited number of games with fellow analyst Rob Ray and play-by-play men Rick Jeanneret and Dan Dunleavy.

Mark Preisler, the executive vice president of media and content for Pegula Sports and Entertainment, said Biron and Ray may do about five games together as analysts inside the benches. But Ray will be alone for the bulk of the games alongside Jeanneret or Dunleavy.

Jeanneret is once again expected to work about half the regular season games, with Dunleavy working the other half.

In another wrinkle, Jeanneret will not be taking a full month off during the season as he did a year ago.

Dunleavy, who is the final year of his five-year contract, recently received a vote of confidence from Preisler.

"I don't see Dan going anywhere other than here," Preisler said.

In a third new wrinkle, Biron and Brian Duff, the pregame, intermission and postgame host, won't be taking their new act on the road this season. They will be working the team's road games from the TV studio in the field house next to New Era Field.

Preisler said that it isn't a cost-cutting measure.

"We think it will provide better coverage," he said.

He explained staying at home will mean the shows at the studio will enable the postgame show to be a full 30 minutes. When the team has been on the road in the past, the postgame shows often had to be cut so the TV performers can catch the team plane.

Of course, Jeanneret, Ray and Dunleavy will be at the road games. Dunleavy provides interviews and insights when he isn't doing play-by-play.

While MSG carries the great majority of Sabres games, the NBC Sports Network is tentatively carrying seven games this season. Those games won't be carried by MSG but will be on WGR radio.

The big non-MSG game is the 2018 Winter Classic at 1 p.m. Jan 1 against the New York Rangers from Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. It will be on NBC.

The first Sabres game on NBCSN is Oct. 24 with Detroit. The next night the Sabres play Columbus as part of NBCSN's Wednesday Night Rivalry feature. Who knew Columbus was a big rival?

Sabres games with Washington (Nov. 7), Boston (Dec. 19), the Rangers again (Jan. 18) and Toronto (March 5) also are on NBCSN's tentative schedule.

Sabres fans may wonder why there aren't more of their team's games on since Buffalo usually is the top TV market in the country for the NHL. But Buffalo also is the smallest American TV market in the NHL, which means the big household ratings don't translate into as many viewers as bigger cities with lower ratings.

In a final new wrinkle, Sabres games will be available via streaming on MSG Go for subscribers to the sports channel. That means subscribers can watch the games via mobile devices even if they are not at home.

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