"This is like Christmas Day for me."
That's pretty direct from a very direct guy.
Ben Holden is working the International broadcast of tonight's Stanley Cup Final Game 5 between Pittsburgh and Detroit. He will be rink-side for in-game analysis, as well as conducting interviews during the intermission.
You should remember Ben from his stint as sports anchor at WILX from 1998-2004. Since then, he's worked for Comcast Local, ESPN, ESPNU and CSTv as a play-by-play announcer for college hockey, football, basketball and other sports. Hockey is Ben's specialty though, and it's obvious as you watch the games. ESPN has taken notice, hiring Ben for last year's regionals in the NCAA Hockey Tournament.
His former boss, Tim Staudt, talked to him on his radio show Monday and got his take on a few hockey items.
ON THE CUP FINALS
Ben pointed to Detroit's penalty of a 2-man Pittsburgh advantage in Game 4 as a huge moment in the series. "When you don't cash in on a 5-on-3 in the Stanley Cup Finals, it's just not meant to be."
As for the Conn Smythe Trophy given to the Most Valuable Player of the playoffs, Holden said this: "Right now, I'd have to go with Chris Osgood. He hasn't given up a goal (in the finals) at the Joe. He's been so valuable to their team."
ON MICHIGAN STATE HOCKEY
MSU has lost another superstar in Tim Kennedy. Sunday, he agreed to terms with the Buffalo Sabres and will forego his senior season in East Lansing.
"Losing Timmy Kennedy is a huge hit," said Holden. "He would have been one of the top 3 players in college hockey had he returned. (MSU) still has Jeff Lerg in net and that's big."
State also lost Justin Abdelkader, who signed with Detroit in April. Both he and Kennedy were integral parts of MSU's 2007 National Championship team.
ON THE FUTURE
After tonight, it's back to looking for the job of a lifetime for Ben.
"I'm just going to keep pounding on doors and keep chasing my dream," he told the Staudt on Sports audience. "I have some (NHL and pro) opportunities out there and if nothing happens this year, I'll just work some more college hockey games for Comcast and ESPN."
Holden was a finalist for the Phoenix Coyotes play-by-play job last year that eventually went to former Wings announcer Dave Strader - his broadcast partner tonight.
Tonight's broadcast will be seen in 120 countries, not including the U.S. and Canada.
"Hopefully, I don't have to speak any Russian or Swede because I haven't brushed up on any."
Hopefully, we'll be treated to Ben's Tim Staudt impression the next time he graces the Dean's radio show with his presence. It's pretty good.