Friday, July 29, 2011

Head Coach Chad Johnson interview on KIBZ

This morning on the 104.1 KIBZ Tim and the Animal radio show, Lincoln Stars Head Coach Chad Johnson made an appearance to talk about the upcoming season.  For some reason, the Blogger software won't let me embed the video in this post, so please click the link below to watch and listen to the interview. 

Click here to watch the video. 

Chad Johnson begins talking at about the 1:15 mark of the video, and the interview ends at the 8:30 mark.

Good to hear that defenseman Mike McKee will be coming to Lincoln.  I had heard some rumors that he might play elsewhere (OHL) next season, so it was nice to hear coach mention that he will wreak havoc for the Stars in 2011-12.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

USHL releases 2011 Fall Classic schedule

The USHL is spoiling us today.  Earlier this afternoon, the 2011-12 regular season schedule was released by the league.  Click here to read more about that.  I was curious about the 2011 Fall Classic schedule, so I sent a tweet to the USHL and got this response.

Click here to view the official release from the league regarding the schedule for the 2011 USHL Fall Classic, which will be held in late September in Sioux City, Iowa.  Here's the complete schedule (Lincoln Stars games are in bold):

USHL Fall Classic Schedule
(rink in parenthesis)
Wednesday, September 21
1:00 PM - Des Moines vs. Sioux Falls (Tyson)
2:00 PM - Dubuque vs. Omaha (IBP)
4:00 PM - Lincoln vs. Chicago (Tyson)
6:00 PM - Fargo vs. Tri-City (IBP)
7:00 PM - Sioux City vs. Cedar Rapids (Tyson)

Thursday, September 22
10:00 AM - Muskegon vs. Chicago (IBP)
10:00 AM - Dubuque vs. Tri-City (Tyson)
1:00 PM - Fargo vs. Waterloo (Tyson)
2:00 PM - Indiana vs. Des Moines (IBP)
4:00 PM - Cedar Rapids vs. Youngstown (Tyson)
6:00 PM - Green Bay vs. Lincoln (IBP)
7:00 PM - Omaha vs. Team USA (Tyson)

Friday, September 23
10:00 AM - Des Moines vs. Chicago (IBP)
10:00 AM - Indiana vs. Waterloo (Tyson)
1:00 PM - Green Bay vs. Tri-City (Tyson)
2:00 PM - Cedar Rapids vs. Fargo (IBP)
4:00 PM - Dubuque vs. Muskegon (Tyson)
6:00 PM - Sioux Falls vs. Youngstown (IBP)
7:00 PM - Sioux City vs. Team USA (Tyson)

Saturday, September 24
10:00 AM - Indiana vs. Sioux Falls (Tyson)
11:00 AM - Waterloo vs. Team USA (IBP)
1:00 PM - Green Bay vs. Muskegon (Tyson)
4:00 PM - Lincoln vs. Youngstown (Tyson)
7:00 PM - Sioux City vs. Omaha (Tyson)

 As you can see above, the Stars will play on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday.  Each USHL team plays only three games in four days, so the Stars will have Friday off to rest.  All three Lincoln opponents are Eastern Conference teams.  Two of the three games the Stars will play at the Fall Classic will take place at the Tyson Event Center (where the Sioux City Musketeers play their home games).  Just like last year, the Stars will play the Green Bay Gamblers at the smaller IBP Ice Center.
It's nice to get this schedule as I know a lot of other people like myself are planning on making the trip up there, and now we have some dates and times to work with.  So, start planning that road trip to Sioux City in September!  The Fall Classic is a great event.  What more could you ask for than four straight days of non-stop hockey.  I'm planning on being there for all three Stars games, and I'll report back here to the blog with my opinions.  Hope to see a lot of you there.

USHL releases 2011-12 regular season schedule

It's finally here!

After weeks of waiting, the USHL released the 2011-12 regular season schedule today.  It seems like every year the schedule release date comes later and later, and like last season, it appears that the delay this year was due to a few teams who would not agree to the draft at hand.  You can't please everyone, although it's understandable that teams want more home games on the weekend, and not during the week.

Click here to see the 2011-12 season schedule for the Lincoln Stars.

Also, there is news that a couple of teams have switched conferences.  The Waterloo Blackhawks will play next season in the Western Conference of the USHL, while the Dubuque Fighting Saints will play in the Eastern Conference.  Actually, this has been known for a few weeks now, as the Pointstreak USHL page shows Waterloo in the West, and Dubuque in the East.

The Lincoln Stars will open the 2011-12 regular season at home on September 30th against the Sioux Falls Stampede.  Looking forward to that game at the IceBox already.  Only two months away!

Here are some highlights of the Stars' season schedule:

  • In the first half of the season (30 games), the Stars will play 13 games at home, and 17 games on the road.  

  • In the second half of the season (30 games), the Stars will play 17 games at home and 13 games on the road.

  • No Halloween or New Year's Eve home game in Lincoln this season.  The Stars will be on the road on 12/31/11 in Sioux City against the Musketeers.

  • The Stars will play at home on St. Patrick's Day in 2012 on Saturday, March 17th against the Des Moines Buccaneers.

  • The Stars will play at home on Wednesday, November 23rd (the day before Thanksgiving) against the Tri-City Storm.  The Stars will travel to Sioux Falls to take on the Stampede on the Saturday after Thanksgiving (11/25), and then on to Kearney, NE to take on the Tri-City Storm on the Sunday following Thanksgiving (11/26).

  • The Stars will play three weekday (not counting Friday) games at home, all against the Tri-City Storm:  Wednesday 11/23/10; Tuesday 1/17/12; and Tuesday 2/21/12.

  • Of the final 9 games in the regular season, the Stars play 6 of those at home at the IceBox.

  • The longest home-stand at the IceBox is only 4 games (occurs twice during the season).

  • The longest road swing for the Stars is 6 games (all in December).

  • 6 of the first 9 games of the season will be played at the IceBox.

  • Lincoln only has two times during the regular season where they will play three games in three nights: November 11, 12, 13, and December 9, 10, 11.

  • The Stars will play 50 games against Western Conference opponents, and only 10 games against Eastern Conference opponents.

  • Okay, I'd like to hear from you now. Your thoughts on the new schedule?  Start planning those road trips!  Hopefully soon the USHL will release the game schedule for the 2011 Fall Classic which will be held from September 21-24 in Sioux City, Iowa.

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    Fargo Force hire John Marks as new head coach

    The Fargo Force made a head coaching hire today, and it wasn't Stars head coach Chad Johnson.

    Click here to read the article from Fargo-Moorhead Inforum reporter extraordinaire Ryan S. Clark.  Here's an excerpt from the link:

    Sources have confirmed that John Marks, a former North Dakota assistant coach, will be named the Fargo Force junior hockey team’s next head coach at a 2 p.m. press conference.
    He will replace Jason Herter, who left the Force to become an assistant at defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth. Should Marks be hired he will be the team’s fourth head coach in its four-year existence. He’ll also continue the string of Force coaches with ties to the University of North Dakota.
    Marks, 63, is a native of Hamiota, Man., who spent nine seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks before getting into coaching. He was an assistant coach with former Force coach and current Nebraska-Omaha coach Dean Blais at UND under Gino Gasparini.
    Marks was one of three front runners that was considered for the job. The others being Force assistant Byron Pool, who was the team’s interim head coach. Pool did apply for the job and will be in Fargo as an assistant this coming season.
    The other name that was rumored for the job was Chad Johnson, the Lincolns Stars head coach and a former Force assistant. Johnson had been rumored to be the next Force head coach since April when the Force’s season ended in the second round against eventual Clark Cup champions, the Dubuque Fighting Saints.
    In my opinion, this was a great hire by the Force.  John Marks has a very impressive resume, both as a player and a coach.  For now, we can put to rest all of the rumors of Chad Johnson leaving Lincoln to go back to Fargo.

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

    Luke Johnson named to USA U-18 Select Team

    Future Stars forward Luke Johnson was chosen by USA Hockey today to participate in the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament as a member of the U.S. Under-18 Select Team.  The tournament will be held from Aug. 8-13 in Breclav, Czech Republic, and Piestany, Slovakia.  Click here to read more.  Click here to view the U-18 Select Team roster. 

    Johnson was selected after participating at USA Hockey's Select 17 Player Development Camp, which was just held in Rochester, NY from July 7th-13th.  In five games at the development camp, Johnson scored 2 points (1g, 1a) and was named to the camp all-star game.  

    Stars defenseman Zach Frye, who was also invited to the Select 17 Team USA development camp, scored 2 points (2a) in five games and was also named to the camp all-star game.  Despite his good performance, Zach was not named to the U-18 Select Team.

    Congrats to both Luke Johnson and Zach Frye for being invited to and participating in the USA Hockey camp, and congrats to Luke for being named to the U-18 Select Team.  The future is certainly bright for these two "Stars."

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    Congratulations to Brent Tate!

    According to the Lincoln Stars website, Stars forward (and fan favorite) Brent Tate has committed to play collegiate hockey for Bowling Green University, starting the fall of 2012.  Click here to read the press release from the USHL.

    Last season for Lincoln, Tate was one of the most improved players on the team, as he scored 26 points (10g, 16a) in 42 games played, was +8, and added 144 penalty minutes.  Tate started the 2010-11 season as an alternate captain, and then later was named one of two captains of the team after Josh Berge was injured.  I would assume you'll see Brent wearing the "C" again next season for the Stars.

    So, congratulations to Brent Tate!  I had the opportunity to talk with Brent a few times at the tryouts last month in Minneapolis, and I could tell the guy has a good head on his shoulders.  Very nice kid.  We wish him the best at Bowling Green next year.

    Photo courtesy of Brandon Anderson.

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    25-player the numbers

    Over on the Sioux City Musketeers blog, the folks there have broke down their 25-player protected roster in a way that I thought was very unique, so I'm stealing borrowing the idea here.  I thought it was a fun, and different way to look at the players recently protected on the Stars' 25 man roster.  I put this together quickly today, so hopefully there aren't too many errors.

    Like the folks on the SC blog mentioned, this list is subject to change, due to the fluidity of the protected roster.  The information below it based on the roster as it looks right now.

    Points by returners: 134
    Goals by returners: 49
    Points by returners heading into last year: 143
    Number of players with 5 games of USHL experience: 16
    Number of players with 5 games of USHL heading into last year: 12
    Players who were drafted by the Stars: 16
    Undrafted players who made list out of camp: 3
    Undrafted players acquired by trade or waivers: 6

    Drafted players broken down by year:
    2011 Entry Draft: 6 (Friese, Cole, Roy, Kinne, Smith, Wold)
    2011 Futures Draft: 0 

    2010 Entry Draft: 4 (Hervey, Hafner, Ladue, McKee)
    2010 Futures Draft: 3 (Johnson, Frye, Martin)
    2009 Entry Draft: 2 (Tate, Lauwers)
    2009 Futures Draft: 1 (Shine)

    Current players who are imports: Teichroeb, McKee, Roy, Wold (all from Canada)

    Broken down by year:
    1991: Tate, Coyne, Lauwers
    1992: Hafner, Williams, Teichroeb, Carlson, Saucerman, Ladue, Tiitinen, Hervey, Friese, Cole, Roy, Kinne, Smith
    1993: McKee, Shine, Hanson, Wold, Grebosky
    1994: Martin, Frye, Aston-Reese, Johnson

    By State:
    Alaska: 4

    Michigan: 4
    Colorado: 2
    North Dakota: 2
    Arizona: 1
    California: 1
    Georgia: 1
    Minnesota: 1
    New York: 1

    Ohio: 1
    Pennsylvania: 1
    Texas: 1
    Washington: 1

    By Country:
    U.S.A.: 21
    Canada: 4

    Thursday, July 7, 2011

    Jason Gregoire signs contract with hometown Winnipeg Jets

    Edit:  It's official!  Click here to read official press release from the Winnipeg Jets.  More here also from UND reporter Brad Elliott Schlossman.

    I had a few people email me this bit of news last night and this morning, so I thought I should get it up on the blog. Thanks to those blog readers who sent me the link.

    There have been some rumors floating around the internet the past week or so that former Lincoln Stars forward Jason Gregoire, who is a native of Winnipeg, Mantioba, Canada, might sign a contract with his hometown NHL Winnipeg Jets. According to this article and this article, those rumors appear to be true.

    Here's an excerpt from the Winnipeg Free Press online article:

    THE Winnipeg Jets are about to add more local content as they are expected to reach an agreement with hometown left-winger Jason Gregoire, if they haven't already.
    Known as a smart, two-way forward, Gregoire will pass up his final year of college hockey eligibility with the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux.
    Gregoire, 22, spent the last three seasons in Grand Forks.
    He decided to leave college this spring to take advantage of a window afforded him by the NHL's labour agreement, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent.
    He was drafted by the New York Islanders in 2007 in the third round, but had not been signed.
    Gregoire, when was was drafted by the Islanders, was playing for the USHL's Lincoln Stars. He went to North Dakota the following season.
    It certainly sounds like I will be editing this article very soon to announce that Gregs has officially signed with the Winnipeg Jets, so stay tuned for that.  I have no doubt we'll see Jason playing for the Jets sometime very soon.  In my opinion, he was one of the most talented players to ever wear the Lincoln Stars uniform.  Congrats to Jason, and good luck with his future NHL endeavors!

    Edit:  Gregoire meets the Winnipeg media after his signing.

    Monday, July 4, 2011

    Lincoln Stars release protected roster and affiliate list

    Well, this was a pleasant surprise.  I just finished writing an article for the blog detailing a few odds and ends, and I see the Stars have now released the protected roster.  Click here to read the release from the official Stars website.  I'm going to list all of the players below, and then I'll give my opinions after that.  I'd like to hear what you think, so please leave a comment, or you can send me an email at  Here we go!

    25-player protected roster:
    G - Lukas Hafner ('92)
    G - Charles Williams ('92)
    G - Jackson Teichroeb ('92)
    D - Dax Lauwers ('91 - overager)
    D - Richard Coyne ('91 - overager)
    D - Cole Martin ('94)
    D - Zach Frye ('94)
    D - Brandon Carlson ('92)
    D - Mike McKee ('93)
    D - Colton Saucerman ('92)
    D - Paul Ladue ('92)
    F - Brent Tate ('91 - overager)
    F - Dominik Shine ('93)
    F - Jared Hanson ('93)
    F - Teemu Tiitinen ('92)
    F - Austin Hervey ('92)
    F - Zach Aston-Reese ('94)
    F - Matt Friese ('92)
    F - Ryan Cole ('92)
    F - Kevin Roy ('92)
    F - Luke Johnson ('94)
    F - Bob Kinne ('92)
    F - Logan Smith ('92)
    F - Brent Wold ('93)
    F - Jonathan Grebosky ('93)

    14-player affiliate roster:
    F - Tommy Schutt ('93)
    D - Vincent Muto ('93)
    D - Derek O'Flynn ('94)
    F - David Parrottino ('94)
    F - Trevor Cope ('94)
    D - Justin Woods ('94)
    F - Max Coatta ('94)
    F - Brad Hawkinson ('94)
    F - Max Humitz ('95)
    F - Vinni Lettieri ('95)
    F - Sean Malone ('95)
    D - Stuart Pomeroy ('95)
    D - Parker Reno ('95)
    F - Alex Schoenborn ('95)

    Well, it's about how I thought it would look....minus a few "surprises".  First surprise is that the Stars appear to be taking three goaltenders (Hafner, Williams, Teichroeb) to the Fall Classic tournament in September.  I can't remember the last time the Stars have done that.  I assume sometime after the Fall Classic, and before the regular season starts, one of those goaltenders will get cut.

    Second surprise is that forward Will Suter was not protected.  Personally, I thought Suter was one of the top forwards at camp.  Defenseman Kyle Halladay was another non-draft pick who impressed me at camp who also did not make the protected list.

    I see that the Stars have protected defenseman Mike McKee, so hopefully they know something I don't know in regards to where he plans on playing next season.  The talented "man child" from New Market, Ontario, Canada has a few options next season as to where he'll play hockey.  It could be back at Kent prep school, in the USHL with the Stars, or in the OHL with the Ottawa 67's.

    I believe the only name listed above that I didn't have on my roster predictions blog post is forward Jonathan Grebosky.  Grebosky was a player I noticed a bunch during camp, so it's not that big of a surprise to see his name on the protected roster.  Missing from the names above is entry draft pick defenseman Matt Purmal ('94), which is a big surprise in my opinion.  I thought Purmal was a lock to at least make the affiliate list.  He had a great camp, and was a youngster I thought the Stars might take a shot on next season for the final roster.  Not sure why Purmal was not protected.

    The Stars likely moved some players they think have a good shot at making the final roster next season to their affiliate list to be able to protect them, so I wouldn't be too concerned about a certain player being on the affiliate list.  I have a good feeling that some of those players listed above on the affiliate list will be playing in Lincoln next season.  Each USHL team has to shuffle players around to either of the two rosters to be able to protect them from other USHL clubs.  Lincoln will likely bring close to 30 players to the Fall Classic tournament in Sioux City in September, so more than just the 25 players listed above will get their opportunity to impress the coaches one more time.  After the Fall Classic, the Stars will cut down to 23 players, and that group of 23 will start the 2011-12 regular season.

    Thoughts on the roster?  Are there any names you expected to see protected that weren't?  Anyone you are particularly excited to see next season?  Which two goaltenders make the final roster?  

    B³ Grab Bag - July 4th Edition

    First of all, I'd like to wish a Happy 4th of July to all of the blog readers out there!  I hope you are enjoying the long weekend!

    I've been sitting on some of these links for awhile, so I figured I'd put them out in one article.  Some of these I've shared on the B³ Twitter site, but I know some of you don't check that.  

    To keep with the patriotic feel, this first bit of news involves two Lincoln Stars draft picks who were selected by Team USA to participate in an upcoming international tournament.  Stars futures draft picks Alex Schoenborn and Vinni Lettieri were recently named to the 2011 U.S Under-17 Select Team that will compete at the 2011 U-17 Five Nations Tournament in Ann Arbor, MI from 8/9 to 8/13.  Click here to read more.  Click here to view the Team USA roster that will participate in the tournament.

    Congratulations to both Alex and Vinni!  What an honor to represent your country in a tournament such as this.  This is just my opinion, but I think both Alex and Vinni have a very good shot at making the Lincoln Stars roster next season despite their young age ('95's).  I was very impressed with both at the Stars' tryout camp last month. It's not uncommon to make the jump from a futures draft selection to the Stars' roster, as Dominik Shine and Cole Martin have both done in the past.

    Lincoln Stars draft pick Mike McKee, who was a surprise attendee of the 2011 Stars tryout camp last month, was selected to participate in the NHL Toronto Maple Leafs development camp.  Click here to read more.  I have my doubts that we'll see McKee in a Stars uniform next season.  I have heard he may be contemplating a move to the OHL for this upcoming season, and will not attend Northeastern University in the fall of 2012, as previously planned.  Stay tuned.

    Former Stars forward Ryan Potulny recently signed a two-year contract with the NHL Washington Capitals.  Click here to read more.  Last season with the Binghampton Senators (AHL), Potulny was the team's leading playoff scorer (26 points in 23 playoff games), as the Sens won the 2011 Calder Cup championship trophy.

    Former Stars defenseman Mike Dalhuisen was one of thirteen defenseman selected to participate in the 2011 NHL Dallas Stars development camp held in McKinney, TX from 7/1 to 7/7.  Click here to read more.  In this blog post, Dalzy was mentioned as having the hardest shot (97mph) of any of the camp invites.  Former Stars forward Stephen Schultz is also at the Stars' development camp.   

    Former Stars forward John McCarron was invited to participate in the NHL Buffalo Sabres summer development camp.  Click here to read more.

    Former Stars goaltender Jared Coreau was invited to participate in the NHL New York Rangers development camp.  Click here to read more.

    Former Stars forward Mike Kramer has been invited to participate in the NHL Minnesota Wild development camp.  Click here to read more.

    Former Stars forward Erik Condra signed two-year contract with the NHL Ottawa Senators.  Click here to read more.

    Former Stars forward Trevor Frishmon signed a one-year contract with the NHL New York Islanders.  Click here to read more.

    Former Stars forward Brock Trotter recently signed a one-year contract with the Montreal Canadiens.  Click here to read more.

    This news was passed along to me by a blog reader who recently emailed Brian Werger, USHL Director of Communications, about the USHL import rules.  Starting the 2011-12 season, the rules regarding player imports will change.  According to Mr. Werger, "Each USHL club is allowed a maximum of four imports (non-American players). It doesn't matter if it is returning or traded players or what position they play, the maximum any team can have on the roster is four."  Very interesting news, in my opinion.  I had not seen this news posted anywhere on the internet, so it was a surprise to me.  I think it's a great idea to open up the USHL rosters to a few more foreign-born players.  Great way to promote the USHL to players outside of the USA.

    *Hopefully* next week the Stars will release the 2011 protected roster and affiliate list, so check back here for that as I will post it as soon as the Stars decide to release it to the public.  The USHL should also release the 2011-12 regular season schedule soon as well. 

    Also, the Fargo Force will be interviewing candidates for the open head coaching position, and I have heard they would like to have a new coach named sometime in mid-July.  It will be interesting if Chad Johnson is picked, and if so, where the Stars will go from here. 

    That's about it!  Thanks to those blog readers who have sent me links to news related to the Stars.  I appreciate it.  Have a safe and fun weekend!