Thursday, December 31, 2009

Live Blog - Lincoln Stars vs. Waterloo Blackhawks 12/31

 New Years Eve Edition!

Start your NYE plans right by chatting with other Lincoln fans as the Stars faceoff against the Waterloo Blackhawks.  Faceoff is at 7:05pm.  We'll be online at 7pm.

Go Stars.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Weekend Preview - Waterloo and Chicago

The Lincoln Stars will ring in the new year on the road with three straight road games against USHL East opponents.  On Thursday (12/31), the Stars will faceoff against the Waterloo Blackhawks.  The Stars will then travel to the "Windy City" to battle the Chicago Steel on Friday (1/1) and Saturday (1/2).  Lincoln currently has a 9-15-1 record (19 points), and are tied statistically with Team USA and the Waterloo Blackhawks for last place in the USHL.

The Waterloo Blackhawks are currently 9-15-1 (19 points), and are tied for sixth place in the USHL East Division.  Like the Stars, the Blackhawks have struggled this season to play consistent hockey.  The "Loo are a top heavy offensive team, sporting three players who have scored more than 25 points this season.  Also like the Stars, the Blackhawks do not have a goaltender with a save percentage over .900 %.  Former Stars forward Jimmy Siers (82 penalty minutes) and defenseman Tony Turgeon (99 penalty minutes) are two of the "tough guys" on the Waterloo roster.

The Chicago Steel are currently 11-11-4 (26 points), good enough for fifth place in the USHL East Division.  Like the Blackhawks, the Steel have no problems scoring goals, but have had issues stopping the puck.  Forwards Sahir Gill (26 points), Mark Anthoine (29 points), and Andrew Kutchin (31 points) are three players the Stars must contain if they want to corral the Steel over the weekend.  Goaltenders Nick Pisellini and Connor Wilson both have save percentages under .900, and goals against averages of 3.35 and 4.08, respectively. 

It will be interesting to see how the Stars rebound from the holiday break with three tough games in three consecutive nights, all against worthy opponents.  Both Waterloo and Chicago are teams that have no problem scoring goals.  Which Stars squad will show up?  Will it be the team that earned 3 points out of a possible 4 on the road against the Indiana Ice?  Or will it team that was embarrassed at home against the Green Bay Gamblers? 

The Stars are 25 games into their 60 game schedule, and they have yet to show any consistency.  One night they'll play the role of giant killers, the next night they'll play the role of puppy dog.  As a fan, it has been frustrating to watch, but we have to keep the faith and support the players and coaches as they try to find their team identity.  I still believe the talent is there.  Like many of you, I'm just patiently waiting for this team to finally break out in a positive way.

We will be blogging/chatting live for all three games this weekend.  I will be running the chat on Thursday and Saturday night, while Layla has been nice enough to again help out and run the chat on Friday night.  Hope to see the usual "suspects" there, as well as some new blood.  I'm always happy to see new faces during our in-game chats.

Be safe on New Years Eve (Amateur Night).

Go Stars.

Edit:  Per Brent Wagner of the Lincoln Journal Star, Stars affiliate player Chris DelMauro will be in the lineup for Lincoln this weekend.  DelMauro is a 6'1, 180 pound forward born in 1991 who has committed to play collegiate hockey at UMASS.  DelMauro was at the Stars tryout camp this past Spring.  Also, Lincoln forward Jarrod Mermis and defenseman Garrett Clement will be out of the lineup due to injury.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Holidays from the Black and Blue Blog!

Just wanted to wish everyone out there a Happy Holidays and a Healthy New Year! I'd like to express my appreciation to all the people who follow this blog and the Stars. When I started this blog back in February, I really never thought it would grow as fast as it has. I feel very lucky to have such great support from so many readers out there. Nate and I both appreciate it.

Thank you for the continued support.  Look for more articles about the Stars after x-mas.  Happy Holidays...and GO STARS!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mobile access to the Black and Blue Blog

If you are able to access the internet with your phone...make sure you click the "make it mobile" link below to get a mobile link to access the "Black and Blue Blog" from your cell phone. Great way to follow the blog and the Stars while you are away from a computer.

Go Stars.

Add Black and Blue: The Unofficial Lincoln Stars Blog Mippin widget

Postgame Report - Lincoln at Sioux Falls 12/19

Final Score: Lincoln 0, Sioux Falls 3

The Lincoln Stars were shutout yet again in Sioux Falls, as the Stampede scored one goal in the first, and two goals in the third period to record their second straight shutout victory over the Stars. In their two games against the Sioux Falls Stampede this season, the Stars are 0-2 and have been outscored 7-0. The Stars put 27 shots on goal against Stampede goaltender Clay Witt, but Witt stopped them all to record his third shutout of the season. The Stars went 0-1 with the man advantage, while Sioux Falls went 0-9 on the powerplay. I'm not sure how to think about that last stat. The fact that the Stars penalty kill unit stopped all 9 chances, or the fact that the Stars put themselves shorthanded nine times.

With the loss, the Stars dropped to 9-15-1 (19 points) in the USHL West Division. With Team USA winning Saturday night, the Stars and Team USA are now tied (.380) with the worst record in the USHL. Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye mentioned during the Sioux Falls broadcast Saturday night that at the current 25 game mark, the Stars have the worst record in franchise history. Nowhere to go but up, right?

I didn't get a chance to watch this game on B2, and I was late listening to the game on the radio, so I really don't have a lot so say in regards to how I think they played. I wonder if some of the players were already on x-mas break, and that the last couple of games were played on autopilot by some. I sure hope the players and coaches can come back from this break with intensity, consistency, and a promise to play the best hockey they can for the remainder of the season. The lack of scoring has to be addressed, but there are many other issues that require attention than just scoring. Coach McGroarty has shown in the past that he can turn bad seasons into playoff seasons, so it's important we continue to stay supportive and positive through these tough times.

Coming back from the x-mas break, the Stars go on a three game road trip, with one game in Waterloo against the Blackhawks, and two games in Chicago against the Steel. Getting three or four points out of a possible six would be nice start. After that three game road swing, the Stars play their next 8 of 10 games at the IceBox.

Go Stars.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Live Blog - Stars at Stampede 12/19

I'm a little late starting this up tonight. Hope to see all of you there.

Postgame Report - Green Bay at Lincoln 12/18

Final Score:  Green Bay 5, Lincoln 2

The Lincoln Stars lost their third straight home game Friday night at the Ice Box, where the visiting Green Bay Gamblers skated past the falling Stars by a score of 5-2.  The Gamblers used two first period goals to stake them to an early lead, and they never looked back.  The Stars got on the board in the first period when Brodie Reid made a very nice leading pass to a streaking Matt Bruneteau, who beat GB goaltender Steve Summerhays high glove side for the goal.  The Stars were outshot in the first period by a margin of 16-7.  The Stars played a little better in the second period, as they outshot the Gambers 14-9, but they could not put any pucks past Summerhays in that second stanza.  GB forward Reed Seckel scored a shorthanded goal in the second period to extend the GB lead to 3-1 going into the third period.  In the third, it was all Green Bay as the Gamblers scored two goals, including one empty net goal, to seal the victory.  Josh Berge scored his first goal as a member of the Lincoln Stars late in the third period on a goal mouth scramble, but it was not enough.  With the loss, the Stars dropped to 9-14-1 (.396 winning %), and are in last place in the USHL West Division.  The only other team in the USHL with a worse winning percentage than the Stars right now is Team USA (.354 winning %).

Tough, tough game to watch.  Green Bay is simply a much better team than the Stars are.  The Stars looked outmatched the entire game.  Give credit to a good GB team.  They have guys who can play the body, skate, and bury goals.  They do it all very well.  I thought the score could have been a lot worse if Green Bay would have connected with a few of their missed scoring opportunities.  The Stars looked flat and confused.  I watched Lincoln players who were more concerned with chirping at opposing players, and trying to start fights behind the play than skating hard back to their defensive zone to help out.  I just don't know why this team looks so bad at times at home.  Very strange.  The Stars will need to figure out why they can't put it all together at home if they want to make the playoffs.  The goaltending will need to improve (ie save percentages over .900) also if this team wants to do anything in the post-season.

A frightening stat that was posted by an anonymous reader in an earlier article:  "the Stars are on pace to score 142 goals this season, only 2 more than Tri City's awful team last year. We have scored 57 goals in 24 games. Omaha had 57 after game 13."

The Stars go back on the road Saturday night to faceoff against the Sioux Falls Stampede.  The 'Pede are another very good hockey team, so hopefully the Stars can use that road magic and get two points before the x-mas break.

I don't know yet if I will be doing the live chat during the game tonight.  Check back around 6 or 7pm to see if I have it up.

Go Stars.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Weekend Preview: Green Bay and Sioux Falls

I know Yeti's been busy living it up in New Orleans this week, so in case he doesn't have time, here is a short weekend preview of two games against very talented teams this weekend. Needless to say, this will be a big weekend in terms of seeing if the Stars are ready to make their move up the standings. Also, these are the last two games before Christmas break, so hitting the holidays on a high note is important.

On Friday night, the Green Bay Gamblers come to the Ice Box for the first time this season. The Stars and Gamblers met twice in Green Bay just before Thanksgiving. Green Bay beat Lincoln 3-2 in the Friday night game and Lincoln won in overtime 1-0 the following night. The latter game featured Matt Green in net for the Stars and Ryan McKay for the Gamblers. Since then, Green has started six consecutive games for Lincoln, while Green Bay continues to rotate McKay and Steve Summerhays.

The Gamblers (35 points, No. 1 in the East) are led by Anders Lee (13 g, 15 a) and high-scoring defenseman David Makowski, who has logged 20 points from his spot at the blue line. The Gamblers have won seven of their last eight, so this game will be a big test for Lincoln.

Strangely, the Stars have been lackluster at home this season (3-5) and OK on the road in tough games like against Green Bay a few weeks ago and in Indiana last week, but hopefully this Friday is the turning point for this team. I'm excited to see Andrew Ammon back in the lineup this weekend. He had six points in five games before going on the injured reserve list. I think Ammon's absence may have hurt more than people think and his return will be huge. Of course, good injury news around Stars camp can't come without bad news. Newly acquired Garrett Clement is out three to four weeks with an injury.

On Saturday, Lincoln travels to Sioux Falls to face the Stampede, who currently sit in second place in the West with 32 points. Sioux Falls lost to Waterloo, 8-7 in a shootout Wednesday night. The Stampede feature Michael Voran (13 g, 18 a) and Matt Lindblad (8 g, 19 a) up top.

The Stars and Herd met back on Oct. 30 in Sioux Falls, with the Stampede running away with a 4-0 win. Lino Chimienti got the shutout in net, but he has given up six and seven goals in his last two appearances, so Clay Witt may get the call on Saturday.

Sioux Falls is a team that can really light up the scoreboard if you aren't on top of your game defensively. Eight times this year they've scored five or more goals, including a 9-1 win, an 8-2 win, a 7-3 win and Wednesday's 7-8 loss.

Let's hope the boys get a win on Friday. I really miss the Choo Choo.

*Lincoln has an open roster spot because Patrick George has left the team. For a roster update, check out Brent Wagner's notes at the Journal Star Blue Line Blog.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Live Blog - Lincoln Stars at Indiana Ice 12/12

 The Stars will be looking to win their fifth straight road game Saturday night when they faceoff against the Indiana Ice for the second time in two nights.  I will be unable to run the chat tonight, so our good friend Layla will be running it in my place.  Much thanks to her for helping out!  If you do stop by to chat, make sure you thank her!

Go Stars!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Game Recap: Lincoln Stars at Indiana Ice 12/11

Final Score:  Lincoln 1, Indiana 0

The Lincoln Stars used a strong defensive effort and fantastic goaltending to earn their fourth straight road win, and a 1-0 shutout victory over the hometown Indiana Ice.  Stars goaltender Matt Green earned his second shutout of the season as he stopped all 26 Indiana shots he faced.  After two scoreless periods, Stars forward Jon Puskar broke the 0-0 tie late in the third period and scored the game winning goal.  Puskar now has scored a goal in each of his last three games, and has potted 6 points in 10 games with Lincoln since being acquired from the BCHL.  Lincoln went 0-for-5 on the powerplay, while the Ice went 0-for-2 with the man advantage.

Great, great win on the road against a VERY good Indiana team.  I'm not sure why this Lincoln team plays better away from the IceBox, but they certainly needed this victory after a disappointing effort last Friday night at home against the Tri-City Storm.  The scoring still needs some work, but to shutout a team like Indiana in their own barn takes a total team effort.  I stated this before, but this team can beat the top teams in the USHL.  The problem so far this season has been putting forth that effort every game on a consistent basis.  It's been one step forward, two steps back at times this season, which has been frustrating to watch.  The talent is there.  It's just a matter of getting everyone on the same page every night.

The Stars will battle the Ice again Saturday night in Indianapolis, where Lincoln will look to extend their road winning streak to five games.  Like Friday night, the game will start at 6:05pm.

Go Stars.

Live Chat - Lincoln Stars at Indiana Ice 12/11

Remember, this game will start at 6:05pm central. I hope to have this up and running at 6pm, but if I'm a little patient and keep checking back. Let's hope the Stars can continue their road winning streak tonight against a very good Indiana squad.

Pre-game notes here.

Go Stars.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Weekend Preview - Lincoln at Indiana

The Lincoln Stars will be far away from snowy Lincoln, Nebraska this weekend, as the Stars take on the Indiana Ice in Indianapolis this Friday and Saturday night.  The Stars hope to continue their winning ways on the road.  Despite losing their last two games at home, the Stars have won their last three games in a row on the road.  The Ice are currently 13-8-1 (27 points), good enough for second place in the USHL East Division.  Meanwhile, the Stars are 8-13 (16 points) and in last place in the USHL West Division.

Even though the Stars recent struggles have them in the cellar, Lincoln is still only 5 points away from fourth place (playoff spot) in the West Division.  Yes, there is hope!  A good winning streak can put the Stars right back in the hunt.  Before that can happen, the Stars must figure out how to play consistent hockey on a regular basis.  One game the Stars play like their hair is on fire, the next game they play like they have cement feet.

I am hoping Stars forward Andrew Ammon is healthy, and back in the lineup this weekend.  Ammon has been out of the lineup due to injury since 10/16/09.  In five games with Lincoln this season, Ammon has 3 goals and 3 assists.  The Stars desperately need his scoring touch and quickness on the ice.  Defenseman Will Rayner was placed on another round of 45 day injured reserve, so it could be well into January or February until we see him back on the Stars blueline.

This will be the second and third times the Stars have faced off against the Ice this season.  In their first matchup on 11/25/09, the Ice squeeked past the Stars at the IceBox by a score of 3-2.  In that tilt, I thought the Stars outplayed the Ice for the majority of the game, but a couple of untimely bounces went Indiana's way, and they escaped the IceBox with a win.  The Ice have a very good record at home (6-1), so the Stars will have their work cut out for them this weekend.  The Stars have more road wins (5) than home wins (3), so they have shown they can outplay good teams in their own barns.  If the Stars can come away from this weekend with two points, I'll be happy.  They do have the talent to win two straight against Indy, but they'll have to play smart, consistent hockey.  We've seen this team beat the best in the USHL.  They are capable.  It would be nice to see the Stars put together a nice winning streak before the X-Mas break.

Important note for both games this weekend: Friday and Saturday night games will start at 6:05pm our time.

I hope to be blogging/chatting live for the Friday night game, but I could be a little late starting it up that night.  It all depends how fast I can get home and get it set up.  I will probably not be able to do the live blog/chat function Saturday night due to outside commitments.

Go Stars.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Snapshot of the Game - Storm at Stars 12/4

 I've been slacking the past few home games with getting the "Snapshot of the Game" back on the blog, so I want to apologize to the readers and to Brandon Anderson (official Stars photographer) for that.  What better game to bring the SotG back than Friday night's Teddy Bear Toss game against the Storm.  Here we see the Stars celebration after Jon Puskar's first period goal, and the ensuing stuffed animal deluge.  Fantastic shot.

You can view more of Brandon Anderson's excellent work here.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

More Facebook goodness

I noticed a few days ago that there is a new Lincoln Stars fan page on Facebook.  I believe this group is run by the Stars organization, so consider it the "official" Stars Facebook fan page.  Related to that, I created our own fan page on Facebook, which is sort of like the group I already created, except this new group is a fan page.  I guess there is a difference between a Facebook "group," and a "fan page."  Confused yet?

Anyway, click here for the new, "official," Lincoln Stars fan page on Facebook.

Click here for the new "Black and Blue" fan page on Facebook.

Click here for a Lincoln Stars fans group on Facebook that has been around awhile.

Click here for a David Reekie group I created a few years ago.   Writing stories for this group gave me the idea of starting this blog. Click on the "Info" tab to check out the Reekie writeups.

Video Time!

Just noticed a couple of new Stars-related videos posted by the USHL on YouTube.  I thought I'd share them for those who haven't seen them yet.

The first video is taken from the Stars 5-4 OT victory against the Youngstown Phantoms on 11/27.  The footage shows Ben Lynch's goal with 12 seconds remaining in the third period to tie the game at 4-4, and also John McCarron's shootout goal to win the game.  The glorious tones of Mike Melbye with the play-by-play.

The second video is taken from the Stars 3-2 victory against the Youngstown Phantoms the following night (11/28).  In this footage, Ben Lynch receives a long pass from Brodie Reid and goes in alone to score on a wicked wrister top shelf.  Mike Melbye again with the call.

Game Recap: Tri-City Storm at Lincoln Stars 12/4

Final Score:  Tri-City 6, Lincoln 2

The Lincoln Stars fell to 0-4 against Tri-City this season as the Storm reeled off four straight goals to pull away and defeat the hometown Stars, 6-2.  The Stars got off to a 1-0 first period lead when Jon Puskar batted the puck past Storm goaltender Carsen Chubak on the powerplay for his third goal of the season.  That lead only lasted three minutes, as Storm defenseman Andrew Panzarella wristed the puck from the Stars blueline past goaltender Matt Green to even the game at 1-1.  With only 11 seconds left in the first period, Storm forward Brett Mohler scored a powerplay goal to give TC a 2-1 lead going into the first intermission.  Dominick Shine opened the scoring in the second period, giving the Stars some life with his fifth goal of the season, his first in his last 13 games.  The Stars penalty kill woes continued a few minutes later as Storm forward Maxwell Tardy scored on the powerplay to give TC a 3-2 lead at the second intermission.  In the third period, it was all Tri-City.  The Storm scored three goals in the third period, one of which was the Storm's third powerplay goal of the game, to seal the victory and give Tri-City a 4-0 record against the Stars this season.  The Storm were 3-for-6 on the powerplay, while Lincoln was 1-for-5 with the man advantage.

With the loss, the Stars are now 8-13 (16 points), and in last place in the USHL West Division.  Only Team USA (.250) has a worst winning percentage than the Stars (.381) right now.  The Stars do not play again until next weekend when they travel to Indiana to take on the Ice on Friday (12/11) and Saturday (12/12) night.

Well, it was pretty obvious to everyone in attendance last night that Tri-City is by far the better team.  No way to sugar-coat this loss.  The Stars could not sustain ANY kind of offensive pressure against the Storm.  It was a shot on goal, maybe two, and then the puck was out of the TC defensive zone.  Credit the Storm for wanting it more, and skating harder than the Stars.  I can't count how many times I watched Storm forwards skate around Stars defensemen last night.  I was really impressed with the overall team speed of the Storm.  They have a number of forwards who can fly.  Matt Green did not have his best game of the year, as he surrendered a couple of long distance blue line wristers that should have been stopped.  In the third period especially, it seemed like the Storm just wanted it more.  I didn't see any sense of urgency from the the Stars in that third period. 

Onward and upward!  This one was frustrating to watch, but we have to continue to support the team through these tough times.  The Stars seem to play better on the road, so I am hopeful they can take two against the Ice next weekend.  The main thing I'd like to see from the Stars is consistency.  One game they are giant killers, the next game they are sleepwalking on the ice.

Go Stars.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pregame Report: Tri-City Storm at Lincoln Stars 12/4

Teddy Bear Toss Edition!

The Lincoln Stars will be looking to win their third staight game this Friday night at the Ice Box when the Tri-City Storm invade the capital city to do battle with the boys in black and blue.  The Stars are a dismal 0-3 against the Storm this season, but despite that record, Lincoln is only two points behind the Storm in the USHL West Division standings.  The Stars are currently 8-12 (16 points), while the Storm sport a 7-8-4 (18 points) record.  After starting off the season 7-1-1, the Storm have been held without a win in their past 10 games.  In fact, the Storm's last win came way back on 11/3, in Kearney, against the Lincoln Stars.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Stars have won three of their last four games, and seem to be playing much better as a team.  The Stars are finally healthy (for the most part), and appear to be improving overall.  The Storm, however, are sinking faster than Mark Mangino in a giant vat of jello.  Despite that, the Storm are still a VERY dangerous team, as the Stars have witnessed three times already.

The big, and recent news this week was the trade of Stars forward Tucker Brockett to the Tri-City Storm.  You can read more about the trade here.  I'm on record stating that I don't like this trade at all, especially considering the Stars traded a first round pick along with Brockett for Storm forward Josh Berge.  Personally, if it was an even up trade, Brockett for Berge, I probably wouldn't have an issue with it.  I understand that Berge has proven himself in the USHL as being a guy who can put up points, but he will be gone after this season.  Brockett on the other hand, will probably play another season for TC after this season, plus the Storm get a first round pick.  I'm not going beat a dead horse, so I will move on.  I wish Brockett the best, and I will not be surprised at all if this trade comes back to bite Lincoln in the ass.

There might be another new face in the lineup Friday night, as defenseman Garrett Clement is rumored to be in town and close to ready to play for the Stars.  Clement was playing for South Kent Academy in Connecticut before coming to Lincoln.  Clement was a teammate for current Stars defenseman Will Rayner at South Kent.

According to Pointstreak, defenseman Steven Hoshaw was traded from the Stars to the the Wichita Falls Wildcats of the NAHL.  With the addition of Garrett Clement, it would make sense for the Stars to release a defenseman already on the roster.  I thought Hoshaw played one of his best games as a member of the Stars a few weeks ago when the Stars beat the Waterloo Blackhawks, 4-1.  Good to luck to Steven in the NAHL.

I'm really excited to see how the Stars play Friday night, as they have a lot riding on this game.  A two game winning streak, only two points behind TC in the standings, new players in the lineup (some going against their former team), and a huge Ice Box crowd.  The Stars defense seem to be coming together nicely as an overall unit, while the special teams, specifically the penalty kill, has improved ten fold.  With the defense gaining experience and confidence, I really hope the offense starts to find their grove and begin burying some pucks behind opposing goaltenders.  This team is due for a big, breakout game.  I hope we see it Friday night.

Faceoff is at 7:05pm.

Remember, the game Friday night is the annual Teddy Bear Toss night to benefit the Lincoln Action Program.  This is always a fun game to be at in person, so make sure you attend.  Drag as many friends and family members to this game, and have everyone bring a new stuffed animal.  Walgreen's will be selling new stuffed animals at the game if you forget to bring your own, or you don't have time to buy one before the game.  It's a great event for a great cause.  Be there.

Go Stars.

Note:  I didn't want this to get buried under the recent news, but I am looking for some help from my readers with designing a new graphics banner for this blog.  You can read all about it here.  Thanks!

Breaking Roster News: Tucker Brockett Traded to Tri-City

Wow. This is just as much of a stunner as the Jimmy Siers/Steve Racine trade. I am sitting here with my jaw on the keyboard.

I was just checking the Pointstreak transaction page, and saw that forward Tucker Brockett was traded to the Tri-City Storm for forward Josh Berge.  According to an article posted on the Tri-City Storm website, the Stars also traded a first round draft pick to the Storm with Brockett for Berge.
Brockett ('90) scored 10 points (4g, 6a) in 20 games with Lincoln this season. In those 20 games, Brockett was -4, with 36 PIM's, and 28 shots on goal.

Berge ('90) scored 12 points (2g, 10a) in 19 games with Tri-City. In those 19 games, Berge was -3, with 16 PIM's, and 52 shots on goal. Berge is no stranger to the Stars, as he completing his third year in the USHL. In three games against Lincoln this season, Berge has 4 points (1g, 3a). Berge was also the captain on the Storm team this season.  Berge has committed to play for Minnesota State-Mankato in the Fall of 2010.

Berge and Brockett are also very similar in size. Berge is 5'9", 160 pounds while Brockett is 5'8", 170 pounds. Josh Berge's older brother Mick Berge is a name that should be familiar with most Stars fans. Mick played three season for the Stars from 2002-2005.

I am really, really sad to see Brockett leave the Stars.  He was by far my favorite new player on the team.  Despite his size, he played like he was 6'4" and 220 pounds.  He was a pint-sized warrior.  I really enjoyed watching him battle non-stop on the ice.  He's a kid with a huge heart, and walnuts as big as church bells.  His drive and effort on the ice will be greatly missed.

Edit: Just noticed this article regarding the trade posted on the official Tri-City Storm website.

KEARNEY, NE – The Tri-City Storm has acquired forward Tucker Brockett and a 2010 first-round draft pick from the Lincoln Stars in exchange for Storm forward and captain Josh Berge.

Storm Head Coach/General Manager Drew Schoneck announced the trade Thursday afternoon.

Brockett, a native of Shaker Heights, Ohio, had four goals and six assists in 20 games this season for the Stars. He is committed to play for Princeton University in the Fall of 2011, which means he will have at least one more season in the USHL.

“Brockett is an energy guy that plays feisty, as well as physical and has a nose for the net,” said Schoneck about the 5-foot-10, 180 pound forward. “He’s a smart player with good vision and can make plays.”

Last season, Brockett played for the Cleveland Barons Midget Major team and had 25 goals and 81 points in 44 games. He was second in the nation in scoring in Tier I - Midget Major Hockey.

Brockett will wear number ‘16’ for the Storm on Friday night against his former team, the Stars.

In addition to acquiring Brockett, the Storm acquired Lincoln’s first-round draft pick for the 2010 USHL Entry Draft, which gives Tri-City two first-round picks.

This season, Berge had 12 points in 19 games for the Storm (7-8-4, 18 pts). However, he only had two goals out of the 12 points.

Schoneck added, “Obviously, when you are in a funk changes have to be made and this will hopefully jump start us going into Christmas and beyond.”

The Black and Blue Blog is looking for your help!

I'm always thinking of new ways to improve this blog, generate more readers, and make it more user friendly.  After all, without your support, I'd probably be talking to myself.  Well, maybe Nate and I would be talking to ourselves.  One thing I've been thinking about the past couple of months is replacing the current blog banner/header with something new and improved.  Basically, it would be a graphics banner that would include the name of this blog, with graphics obviously related to the Lincoln Stars (and maybe even David Reekie). :)

I know there are a lot of folks out there who are computer savvy enough to put together a banner graphic.  As for myself, I'm just not that smart. I don't know the first thing about Photoshop, or any other graphics software.  Sooooo...I thought I'd open this up to my readers and see if there is anyone out there who has the free time, and the smarts to put together a new banner graphic for the Black and Blue blog.

I'm open to anything, really.  I know that the image would have to be at the most 660 pixels wide.  Apart from that, there really aren't any limitations or restrictions.  I'm also open to utilizing more than one header/banner graphic.  If I receive more than one graphic that I really, really like...I'll use both.  Maybe change them up every week, or month.  Or maybe I'll open it up to the readers?  I could pick up to 5 graphic headers and put them to a vote?  There are a number of ways I could handle this.  I'm obviously still in the planning stages, so again...I'm open to anything. I may even throw in a prize for the best graphic...who knows.

If this is something you would be interested in doing, please feel free to send your submission(s) to the email link below.  I will respond to ALL submissions.  If you have any questions about graphical content or ideas, send me an email and I will get back to you. 

Thank you!


Note:  I hope to post a pregame report for the Tri-City game (Teddy Bear Toss!) sometime tonight.  Stay tuned for that.