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Announcer on call for Sabres trip

The Buffalo Sabres have a big hole to fill on the ice with the absence of Derek Roy. The team had another huge one at the start of its road trip and took care of that one with an all-in-the-family approach.

With legendary broadcaster Rick Jeanneret taking his annual vacation, Mark Jeanneret took his place behind the microphone for the MSG/WGR Radio simulcast as the Sabres opened a two-game road trip in the Canadian Rockies against the Calgary Flames.

Jeanneret will also call tonight's game in Edmonton against the Oilers before returning to the AHL for Portland's game Wednesday at Connecticut.

"I'm excited," said Jeanneret, 42. "I've been trying not to think about it too much lately and to concentrate on our work with the Pirates but it's been around the corner and here it is."

Jeanneret said one big adjustment he'll have to make is working with an analyst. Harry Neale will be on the air with him but most AHL broadcasters work games alone.

"That's going to be a little different," he said. "I'll defer to the expertise and let them call things the way they see it. For two games, I don't think I will change much other than knowing I'll shut up more often than I do [in Portland].

Jeanneret is in his second year of calling Pirates games after spending 12 seasons with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League.

Jeanneret knows the comparisons to his famous father are inevitable. There are some similarities in their voices but he said he's made sure to not mimic the man who's worked Sabres games since 1971.

"I've been under that situation [of being compared] to a certain degree for a while," he said. "I've just tried to carve my own way and create my own reputation. I've been told I sound like him which is the most flattering thing people can say to me. We can't change genetics. I know where I came from.

"But I'll do the games the way I do them. He has the nicknames and done things like that which I've never really done. I'm going to sit down and let the game play out."

The prevailing theory among many fans is that the younger Jeanneret is being groomed to take over for his father, who is basically working on a year-to-year basis now. But the son has no idea what the father's long-term plans are.

"I have never asked him the question [about retirement]," Mark Jeanneret said. "We've never had the conversation. He still loves doing the games. As he's gotten older, he's earned the right to take some time off. Those long trips he'd prefer not to do.

"I really don't see him stepping down any time soon. He loves the game, he loves the job. In the back of his mind, he's hoping he sticks around long enough that they'll win a Stanley Cup and he'll call it."

e-mail: mharrington@buffnews.com

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