In this edition of Buffalo Sabres News & Rumors, Rick Jeanneret’s banner-raising ceremony is announced, Tage Thompson is placed in COVID-19 protocols, and Jack Quinn earns a call up to the Sabres for his NHL debut.
Jeanneret to Be Honoured With Banner-Raising Ceremony on April 1
In his 51st and final year as the Sabres’ play-by-play announcer, Jeanneret’s name will be raised to the rafters of KeyBank Center ahead of Buffalo’s game vs. the Nashville Predators on April 1. The announcement came on Friday that “RJ Night” will feature tributes to Jeanneret throughout the night, and the first 10,000 fans at the arena will receive a replica banner.
In the release, Chris Ryndak writes “Jeanneret’s calls — from “May Day” to “Scary Good” to “Top Shelf Where Momma Hides The Cookies” — have immortalized some of the most memorable plays in Sabres history.”
Jeanneret, who hails from St. Catharines, Ontario, is quite simply a Sabres legend. He stuck with the team through thick and thin for more than five decades and will be formally recognized as one of Buffalo hockey’s greatest icons when his banner is raised on April 1. Already a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Sabres Hall of Fame, Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame and Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame, his name being eternalized at KeyBank Center adds yet another incredible feat to his list of accomplishments.
Thompson Placed in COVID-19 Protocols, Leads Sabres in Points
The Sabres lose its top points-getter with Thompson placed in COVID-19 protocols on Monday. The 24-year-old is in the midst of a career year, scoring 23 points (12 goals, 11 assists) in 34 games. Buffalo will need other players to step up in his absence, especially with upcoming games against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday and Nashville Predators on Thursday.
Thompson is an extremely entertaining player to watch this season as he builds confidence, discovers his role and unlocks his potential in Year 2 of a three-year contract with the Sabres. Included in part of the St. Louis Blues’ return package that sent former Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly out of Buffalo, Thompson is starting to show why he was targeted in the deal.
When he returns from COVID-19 protocols, he’ll look to pick up where he left off. The former 2016 first-round pick is playing the best hockey of his career so far, and he likely has even more to prove. The Sabres will try to hang on against some tough competition with Thompson out in the meantime.
Quinn Called Up to Taxi Squad, Will Make His NHL Debut on Tuesday
On the same morning Thompson is placed in COVID-19 protocols, Rochester Americans forward and highly-touted Sabres prospect Quinn is called up to Buffalo’s taxi squad. The 20-year-old, drafted eighth overall by the Sabres at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, ranks second on the Americans with 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) in 20 games.
Following the Sabres’ practice on Monday, head coach Don Granato revealed that Quinn will make his NHL debut on Tuesday against the Lightning.
“I got to see another game in Rochester on Friday and enjoyed watching him with many others on that team,” Granato told WGR 550. “I’m excited for him, because he’s done so well in the American Hockey League, and there are a lot of things in that league that are just easy for him now after gaining the experience of a year ago and building on it. He’s ready for this next new challenge. The timing’s right for him.”
It’s an exciting time for Sabres fans as the future core of the team slowly trickles into the NHL roster, with Quinn being the latest addition. Buffalo needs players to step up in the upcoming games without Thompson, and Quinn could be part of the solution. The puck drops at KeyBank Center on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET, when the back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Lightning visit the Sabres for the second time this season, looking for its first win in Buffalo since Dec. 31, 2019.
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Tom Pepper is an NHL columnist at The Hockey Writers.