Sunday, April 4, 2010

B³ Lincoln Stars 2009-10 Season Recap

Well, here we are at the end of the 2009-10 season.  If you would have told me back in October that this Stars team would finish dead last in the USHL, I'd probably laugh in your face.  I had a feeling this team might struggle early on, especially since they lost so many good defensemen and two battle-tested goaltenders, but I did not think this team would finish the way they did.  A lot contributed to the worst season ever in Stars history, and we'll talk about that here in a bit.  I'm a bit of a statistic junkie, so I first want to review some numbers from this past season.  I'm not trying to be negative here, but these numbers are certainly not fun to look at.

2009-10 overall record:  16-36-8 (franchise low)
Winning percentage:  .333 (franchise low)
Home record:  8-18-4 (least amount of home wins in a season ever)
Road record:  8-18-4 (least amount of road wins in a season ever)
Goals scored this season:  143 (2.38 average goals per game - lowest total in franchise history)
Goals against this season:  220 (3.67 average goals against per game - highest total in franchise history)
Penalty minutes:  1,775 total minutes (most in franchise history)
Power play percentage:  14% (12th place out of 14 teams this season)
Power play goals scored:  42 (11th place out of 14 teams this season)
Penalty kill percentage:  79.46% (11th place out of 14 teams this season)
Shorthanded goals scored:  5 (12th place out of 14 teams this season)
Shorthanded goals against:  11 (7th place out of 14 teams this season)
Average attendance:  4,146 (first place overall-fourth straight season the Stars led the USHL in attendance)

Other than the attendance numbers, those are some pretty nasty statistics.  Again, I don't think anyone associated with the Stars ever dreamed this could happen.  I often refer to this past season as the "perfect storm."  Everything that could go wrong, went wrong.  Right from the bat, the Stars lost a ton of quality players from last season.  The key, in my opinion, was losing the "big four" defensemen:  Ross Henry, Jake Newton, Mike Dalhuisen, and Michael Sdao.  You can't replace those guys with new faces and not expect a drop-off in skill.  Stars lost two goaltenders with USHL experience in Murdock and Borelli.  So you have two goaltenders with no USHL experience, with a defensive corps in front of them with limited USHL experience.

The injuries that plagued this team the entire season certainly did not help matters.  Without a healthy lineup, players were brought in and sent out throughout the season.  I very much doubt the players on the team really had an opportunity to gel with their teammates on the ice.  Also, the players that were on the roster on opening night really didn't a chance to practice a lot with each other because of the State Fair delaying the first practice date for the Stars.  With the State Fair moving to Grand Island, I really hope that next season the Stars players are allowed to practice more with one another before the USHL Fall Classic in September.

Special teams was an issue the entire season, unfortunately.  The Stars never got into a groove this season with the man-advantage.  We've discussed this previously, but according to Coach McGroarty, the team does not practice any specific power play techniques.  I'm not sure why, but the Stars have not done well on the power play for years it seems like.  Uncharacteristically, the Stars penalty-kill unit this season was just as disappointing.  The past few seasons, the Stars have been one of the top penalty killing teams in the USHL.  Not this season.  The penalty kill unit, along with the Stars power play, never improved during the season, in my opinion.  In fact, I'd argue that it got worse as the season transpired.

I'd like to take a moment and thank each and every one of the players who suited for the Lincoln Stars this season.  This season was not what we expected, but the players on this team never quit.  We appreciate all that you sacrificed this season for our entertainment.  All of your hard work and determination will not be forgotten.  For the players who are moving on to college, good luck and remember us here back in Lincoln as you continue your hockey careers.  Also, I know there are a number of player parents who read this blog, and I'd like to thank each and every one of them for sending their sons to Lincoln to play for the Stars.  It was a pleasure watching them this season.

I've mentioned this previously, but BT and I will still be posting articles here throughout the Spring and Summer months.  I'm planning on posting some kind of a USHL playoff prediction contest, so stay tuned for that.  The USHL "Entry" and "Prospects" drafts are next month, and the Stars tryout camp in Omaha will be held the month after that.  Things will slow down here a bit, but we'll still post fresh material when we can.  Thanks for reading.

Go Stars.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yeti, you have done a wonderful job this year and throughout the difficult times, fans can come on here and post positively and negatively. Don't kill the messenger and this forum has been awesome. it takes a ton of work to do this and you deserve recogniton and gratitude for your work. The best fans in hockey once again led the league in attendance and even though we failed throughout practically every catogory mentioned, the supporters did their job during a long strange trip of a season. Simply, we had no consistency.I guess the only stat that the coach once again led the league year after year is penalties.History speaks for itself and we led in this category bigtime again. That is the coaching philosophy and although we lead it year after year the question begs to be asked "is this type of play helping our team win games?" Special team play reslly hurt us this year and why power plays were never worked on is beyond me.These boys need teaching and direction in every aspect of the game and if we don't have coaches that address this, teach goalies and improve our players, it is time for change and a new direction starting out at the top. That is my opinion. Thank you for providing the forum to voice it. You can bet tryouts will be another slugfest and the refs will let it go again. The stars style needs to change.

USHLProspectsBlog said...

I've heard from a number of people that coach will be back next year. Now as all rumors are, its hard to tell if their legit or not. But based on the number of people I've heard it from, I believe its true, and honestly, from a financial standpoint it makes sense to let his contract run out and not run a coach out of town after ONE bad season. How does that look on the Stars organization if they run a coach out of town after one subpar season, I can tell you, potential coaches will be very wary of signing with the Stars if you get fired if you have a bad season.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the awesome blog this season guys. I like the list of rules! A thank you to the boys who played their hearts out through a difficult season, a lot of skill was evident on the ice. Thank you to the parents that sent them, and the parents who hosted them, you guys made another year of enjoyment possible. And here's to next season, where the team will be at the top where they belong!

mike0913 said...

I don't think this team ever had Clark Cup quality talent on it this year. However, if a puck distributing center and a offensive threat from the blue line were on the roster it would have been a playoff team. You can't have good powerplay without having both. The team did improve greatly on defense throughout the year but the defense seemed to struggle all year clearing pucks and starting the breakout. Even with these shortcomings they were still were in a lot of games with good teams. If they good have one half of the one goal losses and overtime games the season would have looked differently.

Yeti said...

Interesting article in the Lincoln Journal Star this morning. Brent Wagner recaps this past season, and talks about the future. With both of the coaches out recruiting the next few weeks, it certainly appears that Coach McG will be back next season. Copy and paste the address below to read the article.

http://www.journalstar.com/sports/hockey/stars/article_64e6f83c-4040-11df-b286-001cc4c03286.html

Anonymous said...

Thanks to all the players who gave all they had every game! Thanks also to the parents of these boys who send them far from home to be a part of the Lincoln Stars family. Thanks to the housing families for all they do. Hopefully, next season will be better since we will have more vets on the team. Thanks to Yeti for doing a great job here on the blog. GO STARS!!!!!

Anonymous said...

wHY OH WHY DO DO THEY NOT PRACTICE POWER PLAY SATRATEGIES? A GOOD FRIEND OF OUR FAMILY PLAYS FOR COLORADO COLLEGE, AND SAID THAT IS JUST PLAIN CRAZY!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to thank all the fans for being so supportive of these players. I am a parent and cannot tell you enough of how important it was for all of you to support them during this trying season. YOU ALL ARE a part of this team and us parents appreciate you! Keep up the good work! There is not a better place to play hockey for these boys - due to the fans, booster club and housing parents. It was appreciated that the booster club held a nice banquet to honor the players. I am disappointed in how the season ended for these boys – very abruptly and they were told to leave the very next day! I feel bad for the players as I would think some time of “closure” would be appropriate – WIN OR LOSE. Hopefully the players will learn several LIFE LESSONS from this season. I hope next year is a better year hockey wise – but please know that your support was very much needed by the boys! You’re the BEST!!

Anonymous said...

Who cares about the coaches contract and if it makes financial sense or not. I'm sure the players and parents who have spent hundreds of dollars and thousands of hours to follow a dream don't. Change the coaching staff now or at least no later than 10 - 20 games into next season. It is more than obvious this years team was capable and had enough talent of being a 500 club. The coach confirmed all year the team had no quit so work ethic was not a problem. I find his and Melby's excuses about injuries and not enough returning players sickening. Jimmy is maybe a good assistant coach at best.

Anonymous said...

To USHLProspecting I feel you are totally wrong with your thoughts. Other coaches don't give two poops what happens to Jimmy and the move would show ambitious coaches Lincoln is a no nonsense place to coach and prove yourself. Over an above this it is known Lincoln is the best hockey community in the USHL coaches would drool to come here. You and Laylo,Jofa and perustarsfan should get over your blind cult like faith in the coaching here at Lincoln. A change could certainly not make things worse Jimmy's a big man he can take it as he expects his players to take it.

Yeti said...

Anonymous,

I would really appreciate it if you didn't call out other posters here. I'm sure you are able to make your point without singling out Layla, Jofa, and PeruStarsFan. Those three haven't posted in this thread, so there's no need to call them out. Thank you for your cooperation. If you need any further clarification, please feel free to email me at: lincolnstarshockey@gamil.com

This is just a reminder to "play nice with the other bloggers." Healthy, constructive disagreement is ok.

Anonymous said...

It will be nice to finally have some draft picks this season. I think that's another factor in this losing season. McGroarty traded away a ton of picks for players. Granted, a lot of those players the last three season ended up helping the team out a lot. You have to give, to get. McGroarty likes to wheel and deel that's for sure. Looking forward to see who we draft in May. By the way, thanks Yeti and BT for all that you have done this season. Without this blog, we'd be in the dark. The Stars website is substandard, and Brent's blog is a wasteland.

USHLProspectsBlog said...

Well, anonymous at 1:49, whether you want to accept it or not, Coach is more than likely coming back. Him and Foutsy are out scouting as stated in the LJS today. Take my reasons or leave them, you are entitled to your own opinion.

Anonymous said...

USHL that would be 1:19 and I am not saying Jimmy will be back or not but disagree with your reasons regarding his contract being a determining factor. It may well be but it shouldn't after this season and getting rid of him would not effect other coaches wanting to come here.Probably the opposite.

Anonymous said...

being out scouting does not automatically mean coming back. seen plenty of coaches go out scouting after season, then be gone before or after tryouts.

Ann O'Nymous

USHLProspectsBlog said...

To the first Anonymous at 6:19, do you really think the Stars will let a coach their going to fire pick their draft picks and pick the team while running tryouts? If the Stars are going to make a move to a different coach, it will be before the draft. If they fire him after the tryouts or even after the draft, it will be a major gaffe by the front office.

Jofa said...

Anon @ 1:19 , do you read the threads on this blog? I did not know I was such a Jimmy backer. While wer'e on the subject, I said early in the year the team will get better when Jimmy starts to coach better. I'm still waiting to see it.

Anonymous said...

Jimmy will not be back in Lincoln as the head coach, just be patient. Announcement likely when playoffs have concluded.

Anonymous said...

Jimmy will be back in Lincoln next year, only he's going to wear green under wear on his head all the time. There, I started a rumor too.

Sam I am

StarsHcky said...

Anyone else see that Chris VandeVelde signed a 2 year entry contract w/ the Edmonton Oilers?
http://ushl.com/news/story.cfm?id=3166
Congrats!!! Just shows what great players we have coming through Lincoln.

mike0913 said...

For all of you calling for Jimmy's head remember in 2006, Des Moines won the Clark Cup. The next year they finished in last place with the same coach who won the cup and he was fired. They have never recovered from that. Coach's don't forget how to coach and teams don't win championships in spite of a coach. There were a lot of Omaha fans calling for Littler's head this time a year ago because they faded down the stretch and got upset in the first round by a surging Fargo team. Do they feel the same this year? jimmy has shown he can win with a veteran team, we need to see if he can build a team from scratch. Now if next year ends up like this year then asking for a change would be more justified. Let's show some patience because the new guy might not be better than what we got.

Anonymous said...

If I remember correctly Des Moines replaced their coach with someone that had no head coaching experience-much like we did. Does anyone have a list of the names that popped up when our coaching position came open? I heard there were 50+ candidates. One was Jon Cooper from Green Bay if I heard right. There are great proven coaches out there that would kill for this job but the owners would have to open the pocketbook. Quit letting certain parents dictate who plays on the team. As far as the injuries have gone this season-what did you expect. When you play a gritty hard checking grinding style of hockey you should expect injuries to happen! That should never be used as an excuse. There is entirely too much money flowing through this organization to accept anything but the best. Not sure Des Moines can say the same.
Concerned season ticket holder

PeruStarsFan said...

Mikie0913

I would have to agree. One bad year does not mean a thing. Next year it will be Jimmy's team. There are no carry overs. Every player will be one he scouted, recruited and signed. If he can't put it together, I will join Annon and say he should go (remembering it is not our decision). Next year will also be Jimmy's third year on a three year contract, so he won't have to be fired, and he won't have to have a contract buyout. My belief is that every coach deserves three years. I thought that about Calahan, I think that about Jimmy, and I will think that about his replacement (should that happen).
I have still not gotten used to the Nebraska, Kill the coach syndrome. I have never seen it so bad as it is here.

PeruStarsFan said...

Annon

I don't care if injuries are expected. They are an excuse. If you watch any NHL games at all you see that there is always a concern about the wrong players being injured at the wrong time. Colorado has 8 out injured and they start playoffs next year. I am not sure Sakko would agree with you.

The team this year missed something. There is talent, but they were missing a togetherness that has been present in the last few years. Players learn to play with each other. An example is the Seden twins. They have played together all of their lives. They insticntively know where each other is on the ice. That develops during the season between other players. This year the first 16 games prohibited that, and it never got better. My guess is that you will see many of the same players next year, but a different team.

PeruStarsFan said...

Annon (4/7 8:36)

I wil give you a point here. There is a great deal of money passing through the organization. i wouldn't mind knowing why we don't have a second and third assistant coach. I would gladly agree that maybe Jimmy is trying to do too much.

Anonymous said...

Idiots! 2 semi-final loses 1 bad season! You spent a few hundred on season tickets! Big deal! Now you got what you wanted! Hope your happy

BellTolls said...

Anonymous at 7:29,

Yeah, we should have all been thrilled with a last-place finish in the entire USHL.

Anonymous said...

WOW Anonymouns at 7:29 - take a chile pill.

PeruStarsFan said...

Anon 7:29

WOW, you are bitter.

If I can believe what I read on the USHL website, the Lincoln Stars won the Clark Cup in 1997 (Yes, I know it was their first year in the league). The next Clark Cup win was in 2003. So if my math is correct that is 6 years. Between 2003 and 2007 is 4 years. If I follow your logic then Steve Johnson should have been fired three times prior to Jimmy comming in.

With the announcement today, I think this dead horse is finally covered up. I posted just because I don't understand the logic. Only one team out of 12 (now 16) can win. If you expect to win every year, you will always be disappointed. Now, for clarification, I hope that the coaching staff and the players enter each year expecting to win the championship. As fans we pay to see good hockey. If they win that is awesome, but if we are so put out when they don't we need to do something better with our lives and stop living through others.

Sit back, enjoy the game. Cheer for the players and the plays. Jeer at the Refs (they expect it). If you don't want to spend your money to go to the game. Don't. It is your money.

When I get so upset at the Stars organization that I can't stand it anymore, I will find another team, but right now Win or Lose, I will be be yelling Let's Go Stars from my seat. I won't leave until the final buzzer, and I will cheer for the guys standing at center ice after the game. That is what fans do, and I drive 70 plus miles to do it.