Mike Lange has opted out of the start of the campaign due to risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Penguins HOF play-by-play announcer Mike Lange opts out of season start

Radio broadcasts of Pittsburgh Penguins games won't sound the same when the shortened NHL regular season gets underway next Wednesday. 

The Penguins confirmed on Friday that Hall of Fame radio play-by-play announcer Mike Lange has opted out of the start of the campaign due to risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Lange, who was set to begin his 46th season with the Pens, turns 73 years old in early March. 

'I've decided to opt out of the start of the season after huddling with doctors about the course of COVID-19," Lange said for the team's prepared statement. "They've suggested it probably is best to receive the vaccinations before going back in the booth."

Josh Getzoff, who has routinely called Pittsburgh road games since the 2018-19 campaign, will become the full-time play-by-play man and work alongside Phil Bourque for the Pittsburgh Penguins Radio Network during Lange's absences. 

As noted by the Associated Press (h/t ESPN), Lange is largely known for his colorful trademark sayings. He was sure to include one in his statement: 

"I'm very much appreciative that the Penguins hierarchy gave me this chance to get everything in order. 

"We all know the broadcasts will be in more-than-capable hands. Josh Getzoff has proven he is an NHL broadcaster in his own right and Phil Bourque is a rock in the booth. They are, without a doubt, knowledgeable, entertaining and just fun to hear on the airwaves.

"And I'm sure you all join in me in thanking the NHL and the Penguins players, coaches and staff for working so hard to bring hockey back this year. It has been a challenging effort and we all should salute them for their dedication in making it possible.

"Meanwhile … Keep Smilin' Like a Butcher's Dog! See ya soon."

Lange does intend on making appearances via the phone during intermissions and other programming. 

Zac Wassink is a football and futbol aficionado who is a PFWA member and is probably yelling about Tottenham Hotspur at the moment. Erik Lamela and Eli Manning apologist. Chanted for Matt Harvey to start the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series at Citi Field. Whoops. You can find him on Twitter at @ZacWassink

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