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No decision yet from Lange on Pens radio

| Saturday, July 1, 2006

The Penguins' Ryan Whitney grew up in Boston, but he still knew about Mike Lange.

"I think everyone knows him because of his goal announcements and all that," said the 23-year-old defenseman. "I knew about him growing up when the Penguins were in their glory days."

Lange's days as the television play-by-play man for the Penguins ended Thursday when FSN Pittsburgh decided not to renew his contract. Lange, who has been part of Penguins hockey for 30 years, was subsequently offered a job by the team doing radio play-by-play.

He said at the time that he needed a few days to think it over, and as of late Friday afternoon, Penguins officials said they had not yet received an answer. Lange did not return calls yesterday.

Tom McMillan, Penguins vice president of communications, said they had a "very limited response" from fans at the Penguins offices to the news that Lange was let go.

"A couple calls, a couple e-mails," McMillan said.

FSN Pittsburgh vice president and general manager Steve Tello did not return e-mail or calls yesterday inquiring about the response the station has received.

Tello told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Thursday that with the number of dramatic changes to the game of hockey, FSN officials decided it was the time to give Paul Steigerwald the opportunity to move to TV. Steigerwald will replace Lange after six years as the radio play-by-play man and another 14 as color commentator on television and radio.

The Penguins employ their radio broadcast team, but the television broadcasters are employed by FSN Pittsburgh.

Penguins forward Colby Armstrong was born in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, and said he couldn't get Penguins games on television there when he was growing up. Armstrong was attending Mario Lemieux's celebrity golf tournament Thursday when the news came out and became a topic of conversation at Laurel Valley Golf Club.

"He's obviously been there forever and been through a lot with the organization," Armstrong said. "He's been the face and the voice of some pretty great things that have happened. I don't know the ins and outs of the business and what went on. But definitely, from what I knew of him, he's legendary, one of those names and one of those voices you remember."

Whitney said that Lange has always been nice to him.

"He did a good job; he's in the Hall of Fame," Whitney said. "I got to know him, and I think it's going to be weird for Penguins fans not to hear his voice on TV."

Note: The Penguins can begin negotiating with unrestricted free agents beginning at 12:01 p.m. today. The Penguins are not expected to be major players in the market this year, however that doesn't necessarily mean they won't be active.

"I'm not sure if I'm fishing in those waters, but I want to be open to improving the team," general manager Ray Shero said.

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