Rick Jeanneret called a game from the bench last season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres players thrilled for Rick Jeanneret’s return

BUFFALO – Whenever Patrick Kaleta needs to “get pumped up,” the Sabres winger goes to Youbtube.com and listens to legendary play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret call some famous goals.

“He makes the game so exciting,” the Angola native said this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center. “It is one of the best, if not the best thing about being a Sabre is hearing your name called by Rick Jeanneret. I still get chills listening to some of stuff on YouTube. …

“I’m just happy and privileged to have my name called by him.”

Kaleta’s name will be called again by Jeanneret on Saturday. The Sabres announced earlier today Jeanneret, who said one week ago he’s cancer-free, will call the first period of the Saturday’s tilt against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Jeanneret announced in July he was battling throat cancer.

“How special it is to hear your name called by the famous Rick Jeanneret, true role model in what he’s gone through and what he’s battled,” Kaleta said. “When I was younger, I used to turn the radio on – no offense to the TV guys.”

Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers added: “It’s pretty special, not only for R.J., but to see what he’s gone through, he fought out of it and was a fighter throughout the whole experience. It’s a pretty special moment for the whole organization.”

That first goal will be special, too.

“R.J.’s arguably the best in the league,” Myers said. “To be the guy to get the first goal with him would be pretty cool.”

Check back later for more reaction on Jeanneret’s return.

In lineup news, Sabres winger Marcus Foligno (shoulder) will return Saturday. Coach Ted Nolan wouldn’t reveal which forward will sit. Nolan said goalie Michal Neuvirth will start. Nolan had no update on defenseman Josh Gorges (lower body).

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