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About a year ago, Sam Twitter DM’d me from the BS Hockey account. I’m notoriously unresponsive, so it took me a day (and a prod from Mark @RedditCBJ) to get me moving. I finally replied, and decided to join BS Hockey (now Buckeye State Hockey) as a contributor.

One year, 38 individual articles, and 24 podcast episodes later? I’m quite pleased I made the move.

I am a chemical engineering PhD student. I’m in the lab most days, thinking about nanoparticles, electron microscopes, journal articles, group meetings, and design of experiments. Music, hockey, and video games are my escape. Blogging is what I do for fun after-hours, a way to communicate and think critically (sometimes logically) about other stuff just because I can and I like it. In that way, I view blogging as half escapism, and half open-ended conversation.

Maybe that sounds silly. Why would you yell into the vacuum about random stuff?

It’s easiest (and pleasant) to dismiss this question when you get feedback and when you’re interacting with others. Buckeye State is that outlet for me. And it offers the best of both worlds: I get to babble about the niche hockey things I enjoy, and I get to share in the experience with other bloggers under the same tent.

The people of Buckeye State Hockey are incredibly supportive, and have made invaluable contributions to the Blue Jackets blogging community. It’s easy for me to say they’re the best in the CBJ blogosphere because I’m biased. It’s also easy because it’s true.

In the spirit of all this reflection, I’ve decided to share three of my Buckeye State articles. I think I’m proudest of these over the others. You’ll find them below with some thoughts a bit removed from their publication.

The All Star Game: It’s Not For You
Most of my writing has a numbers angle. Here, I took a step aside to think about my (current) home city. The disparity between the buildup to the All Star Game and the fun on-location was remarkable. National (and external regional) writers made quite a fuss about an event that (supposedly) didn’t matter, or that didn’t look like hockey.

It’s hard to dismiss other opinions, especially from otherwise-informed places. In this case, the grumbling authors weren’t the audience. I hope everybody has a blast in Nashville next season and that hockey scribes are bold enough to regurgitate the same disgust (without thinking). That’d be good excuse for sharing this article again.

The Complicated Value of the Bobrovsky Contract
I think this got the most feedback of anything I’ve written, which I think is fun. The Bob contract is an good entry point to considering the GM’s balancing act. On the one hand: how do I shore up the skaters with minimized cap space? On the other: how do I get another starting goalie without giving up significant assets?

I hope I managed to capture some of that duality. Bob’s undoubtedly a valuable player for the franchise both on and off the ice (Vezina marketing alone is huge). Goalie value is a bizarre place, and I can’t help but think of a term Jeff Marek’s been using on MvsW: disloyalty. Teams need disloyalty to survive the cap era, and I sure want the CBJ to win soon.

Another reason I love this article? It inspired this totally-out-of-character Tweet. I regret everything and nothing.

Evaluating a Possible Wisniewski Trade
James Wisniewski is a terribly divisive player. The numbers crowd sees an important, effective, cheap d-man that can transform 1/3 of a defensive corps for the positive. The eye test sorts complain about a poor pincher who helps opponents to high quality chances.

This article was my way of saying as much about Wiz as possible in one place. Every objective evaluation that I know shows him as a great d-man, maybe even elite (if you like that kind of Hot Take-ism). I’m still disappointed that he was traded, although I’m well aware a) my opinion doesn’t matter, and b) I’ll never hear the full internal justification. It’s all the more frustrating seeing his usage in Anaheim (not hard to imagine the Ducks with a different fate vs Chicago if Wiz plays).

I hope a Hurricanes fan finds this sometime down the road and realizes the great pickup their team made.