In yet another example of a sports franchise being woefully out of touch with their fans, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ longtime play-by-play announcer, Mike Lange, was let go today.
Most of The Four Of You have no idea who Lange is, so take it from me that one of the top five hockey broadcasters in the world is now looking for work. He was known for his colorful catchphrases when a Penguin would score, such as “HEEEEE SMOKED HIM LIKE A CHEAP CIGAR!” and “GET IN THE FAST LANE, GRANDMA, THE BINGO GAME’S ABOUT TO ROLL!”
Maybe you have to be there.
Anyhow, one of the nice things about having NHL Centre Ice was that I could be…it allowed me to get the out-of-town games on TV (of course, when you live in Seattle, EVERY NHL game is out-of-town), and more than a few times I’ve found myself on the Penguins game just to listen to Lange work. (He was also the play-by-play announcer for Midway’s 2-On-2 Open Ice Challenge.)
So I was bummed when I heard this, because I wasn’t gonna get to enjoy Lange’s work anymore, until a friend pointed out something I missed: OLN, the network that currently airs the NHL on nationwide cable, is going to be turning into a full-blown sports channel called Versus in the fall. Ostensibly, along with this will come an expansion in their hockey coverage.
Memo to OLN, if they are listening: Sit Mike Lange down, put a blank check in front of him, and start drawing in zeroes until he smiles.