The Florida Panthers may have seen their disappointing season end in April yet they are represented at this year’s Stanley Cup Finals.
Television voice Steve Goldstein has been keeping himself busy during Florida’s offseason by working the microphone for Westwood One/NBC Sports Radio’s coverage of the 2017 postseason.
Goldstein, who got his start with the Panthers on the radio side of the broadcast booth, has been handling intermission coverage as well as pre- and postgame for the network.
“It has been an unreal experience working these playoffs,” Goldstein said from Nashville, where he is in town to cover Sunday’s pivotal Game 6 of the series. The Pittsburgh Penguins hold a 3-2 series lead over the Predators.
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“It has been amazing, great being here in such a terrific atmosphere. It has been really cool to be around this level of championship play in the NHL.
“There’s no question I would rather be covering the Panthers at this time of year, but it’s nice to be able to work on the biggest stage in the sport. I’m honored to be able to do it.”
This is the second postseason Goldstein has been pressed into radio service.
Last year, after the Islanders knocked Florida out of the opening round, Goldstein (who has worked at the Olympics for the network in the past) was part of Westwood’s team at the Finals when Pittsburgh beat San Jose.
This year, the network expanded its coverage of the NHL and Goldstein was called on to work the Winter Classic in St. Louis during a break in the Panthers’ schedule.
“It was cold,” Goldstein said, “but that was a lot of fun.”
After calling a Washington-Toronto game in the first round this year, Goldstein worked the Western Conference finals between the Predators and Anaheim Ducks before moving on to the Finals.
Being on the scene in Nashville, Goldstein says, has been special.
The crazy atmosphere around Music City reminds Goldstein of Florida’s run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1996.
“We had rats down here and they throw catfish,” he said. “They have a great goalie here whom everyone loves just like the Panthers had with John Vanbiesbrouck. There’s just an innocence to it. In 1996, the Panthers were a new team.
“While the Preds have been around for a while, this is the first time they have come this far. This is all new to the fans here and they are loving every minute of it.”
One of the perks of Goldstein’s postseason gig has been the accessibility of celebrities at the Finals.
Although he didn’t get to interview Charles Barkley in Nashville, he was able to grab some time with the Great One — Wayne Gretzky.
Goldstein also snagged interviews with country superstars Carrie Underwood and Dierks Bentley.
“I’ve spoken to Wayne Gretzky three times in six months so he probably thinks I’m stalking him,” Goldstein joked.
“As I’m walking away from him, I see Carrie Underwood standing there. I had to try and talk to her, right? Then Dierks Bentley sang the anthem, so I grabbed him as well. It has been pretty cool, for sure.
“The country music world has certainly bonded with this Predators team and is one reason the city is so into it. Everyone has jumped on.”
2017 STANLEY CUP FINALS
Pittsburgh Penguins lead Nashville Predators 3-2
▪ Game 6 — Pittsburgh at Nashville, Bridgestone Arena
When: Sunday, 8 p.m
TV/Radio: NBC-6; Westwood One/NBC Sports Radio, SiriusXM
▪ Game 7 (if neccessary) — Nashville at Pittsburgh, PNG Arena
When: Wednesday, 8 p.m.
TV/Radio: NBC-6; Westwood One/NBC Sports Radio, SiriusXM, WINZ-940