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Intermission piece on Eichel, Moulson is must-see TV tonight


If you plan to watch the Buffalo Sabres game with the St. Louis Blues starting at 8 tonight on MSG, make sure your plan doesn’t include going to the refrigerator during the first intermission.

That’s when the newest edition of the Sabres behind-the-scenes series, “Beyond Blue and Gold,” features  a 4 minute, 17 second piece on Jack Eichel’s experiences living with Matt Moulson, his wife and their two young children in a spacious Buffalo home.

Moulson’s invitation to Eichel to have the rookie live with him has been well-documented. The feature deals with how it started and how well it is working.

In a word, the must-see TV feature produced by Michelle Girardi Zumwalt is “adorable,” “cute” and “priceless.”

Whether it is sitting on the couch trading compliments about their senses of humor or going downstairs to see Eichel deliver some trash talk while playing a video hockey game on Xbox, the pair are constantly smiling and enjoying each others  company.

And as he has done so far this season on the ice, Eichel gives as good as he gets playing with the experienced veteran.

It isn’t surprising Eichel is a kid willing to do down on the ground to play with Moulson’s adorable young children and do play-by-play of a miniature hockey game he plays with Moulson’s son. But it is somewhat surprising that the 32-year-old Moulson seems like a kid, too, as his constant smile indicates.

If there is one minor disappointment, it is that it would have been nice to see and hear more from Moulson’s wife about how she thinks the arrangement is working.

If you miss the feature on MSG, it will immediately go up on the Sabres website after it airs on TV.

A Western New York native and 2000 graduate of Nardin Academy, Zumwalt joined Pegula Sports and Entertainment this summer as a senior producer after a decade working at NFL Films.

At NFL Films, she had a significant role on the Dec. 12 “30 for 30” film -- to be carried on ESPN -- on the glory days of the Buffalo Bills.

In fact, she still is working for free on the film, “Four Falls of Buffalo,” and recently spent several hours at Channel 7 looking over old videocassettes to find one clip needed for the film.

“It is my baby,” she explained. “I left before I finished.”

She said the film was actually the idea of Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly.

Zumwalt said that after he was interviewed for the “30 for 30,” “Elway to Marino,” Kelly told director Ken Rodgers “you should do one on us.”

Rodgers then pitched and sold the idea.

While working full-time on the project for NFL Films, Zumwalt interviewed kicker Scott Norwood and special teams coach Bruce DeHaven twice each and Hall of Famers Andre Reed, Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith and Bill Polian once each.

She said the interviews with Norwood, whose game-ending 47-yard field goal attempt to win the game against the New York Giants went wide right, were as emotional as advertised. He was later cheered at a rally at Buffalo City Hall.

“He got choked up both times I talked to him,” Zumwalt said. “It still affects him to this day. The part where he really is emotional is when he talks about the way Buffalo embraced him afterwards.”

She said Norwood likened missing the field goal to a car accident.

“He said, ‘you are in shock, you know something bad happened,’” she said. “He pulled his socks up after the kick after he missed it even though he didn’t have to. The look on his face. He was lost.”

Zumwalt was eight years old when that Bills’ Super Bowl was played and her family had a party to watch the game.

“After the missed kick, my brother Vinnie (he was 10) threw up in the bathroom,” she remembered.

She was surprised about how emotional she got when her research required her to watch the Bills’ final drive before the field goal miss.

“I watched the final drive nervously, I was sweating,” she said.

It should be a lot easier watching the “30 for 30” film that is expected to glorify the Bills despite their four Super Bowl losses.

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