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Jeanneret, Dunleavy weighing broadcasting futures with Sabres

Buffalo Sabres play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret calls his last game of the season tonight on MSG against the Ottawa Senators.

Which brings the question: Does he plan on returning next season?

Before he could answer it Tuesday night, Jeanneret had a question for me: "Are you still working?"

I told him that was funny because his work future was what I was calling him about.

"I'm leaning toward coming back," replied Jeanneret, who began calling Sabres games on radio in the team's second season in 1971 and has been doing simulcasts on TV and radio for about 20 years.

"When you get to be 75, things can change," he added. "I'm feeling pretty good, especially after dealing with all the (health) crap I had to deal with the last few years."

Jeanneret was alluding to his battle with throat cancer four years ago and having a pacemaker implanted in his heart a few years ago.

"I still like the job," continued Jeanneret, who is the longest-tenured play-by-play announcer with one team in National Hockey League history. "I still don’t enjoy the road trips. This year, I had too many away games. I will cut back on the road trips."

He said he doesn't plan on doing any more than half the games, as he has done for the past few seasons.

The Sabres struggles this season – they are in last place in the league – surprised him.

"It hasn't been fun," said Jeanneret. "I honestly thought Buffalo would have been in a playoff run this year. Look at my schedule, I loaded up toward the end of the year because I thought they would be in the playoff hunt."

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But he is somewhat optimistic about the future of the team.

"You have to give (Sabres General Manager) Jason Botterill a chance," said Jeanneret. "He inherited all of this. I like the man very much. He has been a breath of fresh air in the organization. He is a nice human being. I think he is going to be fine. Everything will be fine."

Dan Dunleavy, who has done the play-by-play on the other half of the Sabres schedule, including the season's final two games after tonight, also expects to be back. His contract with the team expires in the summer.

In a brief interview, Dunleavy said he wants to be back and has been told by Mark Preisler, the executive vice president of media and content for Pegula Sports and Entertainment, that the team wants him back, too.

"We've had discussions, but no deal has been reached yet," said Dunleavy.

Dunleavy added the death of his father about a month ago made him step away from negotiations as he dealt with his loss.

"It is just a matter of working out the business side," said Dunleavy.

Dan Dunleavy attempts the impossible: following Rick Jeanneret

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