Legendary Pens broadcaster Lange hints at offseason retirement

I don’t know whether to cry or wind my watch… has Elvis just left the building?

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Legendary Pittsburgh Penguins broadcaster Mike Lange is responsible for some of the most iconic calls in Penguins, no hockey, history. The colorful King of the Catchphrase has been the play by play voice of the Penguins for nearly 45 years, calling five Stanley Cup victories and coining dozens of “Lange-isms” along the way.

Some of our favourites:

“Scratch my back with a hacksaw!”
“Get in the fast lane, Grandma, the bingo game's ready to roll!”
“He beat him like a rented mule.”
“He's smiling like a butcher’s dog!”
“Buy Sam a drink and get his dog one, too!”
“(Insert Goaltender here) doesn't know whether to cry or wind his watch.”
“Slap me silly, Sidney!”
“And ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has just left the building!”

At age 70 however, Lange admits that the grind of the NHL schedule is getting too much for him to bear some days. The veteran broadcaster has taken on a reduced schedule the past few seasons, a necessity so that he can recover from an undisclosed injury, not illness, from the comfort of his Pittsburgh home.

In conversation with the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette’s Jason Mackey, Lange admitted that this postseason could be his final run calling Penguins games over the radio waves. 

“If I need to make a change, I’d be happy to walk away from it,” Lange says to Mackey. “Right now, I’m going to keep everything on the table and see what transpires.

“I could stop after this year, but I could keep on going, too. Let’s find out where it’s going to go.”

Lange goes on to say that he’ll take the summer to reflect and then see whether or not he gets the “itch” to endure another nine month long season grind at age 71, particularly when it comes to travel.

“I’m not unfamiliar with the road,” Lange reminded when I asked how it felt to be doing road games again. “I’ve been doing it since 1971. That’s a lot of years and a lot of games.”

Fair enough. One thing’s for sure, Lange’s not going to simply walk away without some careful consideration. We hope, if only for our own sake that he elects to hang around a while longer. But, if indeed Elvis has left the building, at least he has left us with some of the most iconic catch phrases in sports history: