Good day to you all. Before delving into my purpose in writing this post, I must introduce myself. I'm Evan "Tex" Western, and I'm a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin, where I spent five fantastic years as an obsessive Badger football and hockey fan. For evidence, check out my profile. My picture pretty much says it all. I am also a contributor on the Green Bay Packers' SBNation blog, Acme Packing Company. I've been transplanted to the Columbus area for work, and I'm adopting the Blue Jackets as a hometown team. (Don't try to convince me to become a Buckeye fan, I promise you it won't work.)
My Wisconsin hockey fanaticism leads me into to the content of this post. From my seats at the Kohl Center, I have had the luxury of watching one of the best crops of college defensemen in recent memory make their way through Madison over the last few years, including high draft picks Justin Schultz and Jake Gardiner, NHL mainstays like Tom Gilbert, soon-to-be NHL D-men Brendan Smith and Ryan McDonagh, and of course, Blue Jackets prospect Cody Goloubef.
First and foremost, I want to make sure everyone knows how to pronounce Cody's last name. It's GOAL-uh-beff. Second, I want to inform everyone that his unofficial nickname (according to me and a large portion of the Wisconsin student section) is "Goldbeef". To make a long story short, a friend of mine misread the back of his jersey early in his freshman year and the name stuck. I'm hoping to spread the word and convince others to adopt the nickname - partially because I think it's a fun name and partially so I won't look like a complete idiot when I'm screaming "GOLDBEEF" all by myself at the top of my lungs.
Now for some actual analysis of Goldbeef as a hockey player. During his career, Goloubef has been largely overshadowed by the glut of talent on the blueline in Madison. Ryan McDonagh (now a New York Ranger) was well-known as the best defensive blueliner in the WCHA, and possibly in the entire NCAA last year. Brendan Smith (now a Detroit Red Wing) was well-known as the best offensive blueliner in the country last year. However, Goloubef was a solid presence both ways. In a role on the second defensive pair (often matched up with freshman Justin Schultz) last year, Goloubef put up decent numbers: 3 goals and 11 assists in 42 games. However, if he were a top-line D-man and had more power play minutes, he could easily have doubled that total.
In terms of skills, Goloubef has a very good slap shot from the point and good vision with the puck. Again, his offensive skills really didn't shine in his situation at UW, but they're definitely there. On defense, Goloubef progressed over three years from a young player who would often get caught pinching up on the play and giving up odd-man rushes to one who was much smarter about his play in his own end. Ultimately, I think Goloubef will work his way into an excellent second-pair defenseman over the next few years.
So let's hear it for Goldbeef, and On Wisconsin! (I couldn't resist.)
P.S. Any recommendations for a new Columbus area resident and Blue Jackets fan?