Monday, July 30, 2012

Congrats to Michael Neville!

Quick article to congratulate incoming Lincoln Stars forward Michael Neville on his commitment to the Michigan Tech University hockey program, which is located in Houghton, MI.  Neville made the announcement today via Twitter.  I reached out to Michael this afternoon, and he told me he will be starting at Michigan Tech in the fall of 2013.

Click here to view the press release from the St. Michaels Buzzers of the OJHL, the team Neville played for the last two seasons.

Neville is a name most Stars fans might not be familiar with yet.  Michael ('93) is originally from Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada, and is 6'0", 180 pounds.  Neville made the Stars 25-player protected roster as a free-agent (not drafted by the Stars) after impressing coaches, scouts, and fans alike at Lincoln's tryout camp this past June in Minneapolis.  Not only was Neville the best free-agent player at Lincoln's camp, he was one of the top forwards of all camp invitees, in my opinion. Michael was the only free-agent at Lincoln's camp to make the 25-player protected roster.

Congratulations once again to Michael on his commitment to Michigan Tech!  I'm really excited to see this kid in a Stars uniform after watching him at tryouts.  I'm convinced he'll become a fan favorite and a key contributor on the 2012-13 Lincoln Stars team.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

USHL releases 2012 Fall Classic schedule

It's here!

Click here to view the official release from the league regarding the schedule for the 2012 USHL Fall Classic, which will be held from September 19th-22nd in Sioux City, Iowa.  

I'm going to post the entire schedule below, and bold the three games played by the Lincoln Stars.

USHL Fall Classic Schedule
(rink in parenthesis)
Wednesday, September 19
1:00 PM - Des Moines Buccaneers vs. Cedar Rapids Roughriders (Tyson)
2:00 PM - Chicago Steel vs. Omaha Lancers (IBP)
4:00 PM - Tri-City Storm vs. Dubuque Fighting Saints (Tyson)
6:00 PM - Fargo Force vs. Lincoln Stars (IBP)
7:00 PM - Sioux City Musketeers vs. Sioux Falls Stampede (Tyson)

Thursday, September 20
10:00 AM - Muskegon Lumberjacks vs. Waterloo Black Hawks (IBP)
10:00 AM - Indiana Ice vs. Tri-City Storm (Tyson)
1:00 PM - Fargo Force vs. Chicago Steel (Tyson)
2:00 PM - Youngstown Phantoms vs. Des Moines Buccaneers (IBP)
4:00 PM - Cedar Rapids Roughriders vs. Lincoln Stars (Tyson)
6:00 PM - Omaha Lancers vs. Green Bay Gamblers (IBP)
7:00 PM - Dubuque Fighting Saints vs. Team USA (Tyson)

Friday, September 21
10:00 AM - Des Moines Buccaneers vs. Indiana Ice (IBP)
9:30 AM - Chicago Steel vs. Waterloo Black Hawks (Tyson)
1:00 PM - Fargo Force vs. Green Bay Gamblers (Tyson)
2:00 PM - Tri-City Storm vs. Cedar Rapids Roughriders (IBP)
4:00 PM - Muskegon Lumberjacks vs. Sioux Falls Stampede (Tyson)
6:00 PM - Youngstown Phantoms vs. Dubuque Fighting Saints (IBP)
7:00 PM - Sioux City Musketeers vs. Team USA (Tyson)

Saturday, September 22
10:00 AM - Green Bay Gamblers vs. Youngstown Phantoms (Tyson)
11:00 AM - Sioux Falls Stampede vs. Team USA (IBP)
1:00 PM - Lincoln Stars vs. Muskegon Lumberjacks (Tyson)
4:00 PM - Waterloo Black Hawks vs. Indiana Ice (Tyson)
7:00 PM - Sioux City Musketeers vs. Omaha Lancers (Tyson)

As you can see above, the Stars will play on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday (same as last year).  Each USHL team at the Fall Classic plays three games in four days, so the Stars will have Friday off to rest.  Two of Lincoln's three opponents are Eastern Conference teams (Cedar Rapids, Muskegon).  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).  On Wednesday 9/19, the Stars will play the Fargo Force at the smaller (and colder) 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 at least two of Lincoln's three games, and I'll report back here to the blog with my opinions.  Hope to see a lot of you there. 

Go Stars.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Lincoln Stars acquire forward Jimmy DeVito from the Chicago Steel

According to the Lincoln Stars' official Twitter account, forward Jimmy DeVito has been acquired from the Chicago Steel for a third round draft pick in the 2013 USHL Entry Draft.

Click here to view DeVito's stats while in Chicago.  Jimmy is a 5'11", 165 pound forward from Bloomingdale, Illinois (suburb of Chicago).  In 57 games for the Steel last season, DeVito scored 24 points (8g, 16a) and added 120 penalty minutes.  Born in 1994, DeVito already has more than 100 USHL games under his belt, which is quite a bit considering how young he is.

Devito has committed to play college hockey at RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), starting the fall of 2013.  Click here to read more about that.  Incoming forward, and Stars draft pick Jake Wood is also a RPI commit for 2013.

On paper, this seems like a great pickup for the Stars.  From what I've been told about his game, I think DeVito could become a fan favorite in Lincoln.  I was told by a friend who is a Steel fan that DeVito won't back down from anyone, including players much bigger than him.  If you do a search with his name on YouTube, a number of fight videos come up (I'll include a video below of one of his scraps).  His USHL experience is a big plus, also.  Personally, I love watching the smaller guys who play like they are 6'2", 200 pounds.  His stats remind me a bit of current Stars forward Dominik Shine, or former Stars forward Garrett Peterson, who is also an Illinois native.

The Stars have traditionally done well when they have been trading partners with the Chicago Steel.  In 2010, the Stars acquired forward Andrew Schmit and defenseman Richie Coyne from the Steel before the 2010 USHL Entry Draft.  Both players played key roles in Lincoln's 2010-11 season.  In 2009, the Stars acquired forward Eric Alexander from the Steel to help add size and scoring to their lineup.

So if DeVito is on the roster, who is off?  The Stars recently released their 25-player protected roster, along with their affiliate roster.  I thought the roster was pretty set, but with the addition of DeVito I can only assume someone previously listed is now not protected.

Thoughts on the trade?  Please leave a comment below!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

USHL releases 2012-13 regular season schedule

Hooray! The USHL released the 2012-13 regular season schedule today.  Nice to see the schedule released in the early part of July, as opposed to seasons past when delays caused it to be released in late July.

Click here to see the 2012-13 season schedule for the Lincoln Stars.

For the first time ever in USHL's Tier 1 history, the league will expand to 64 regular season games played per team, up from 60.  Each USHL club will play 32 games at home, and 32 games will be played on the road.

The Lincoln Stars will open the 2012-13 regular season at home on Friday, September 28th against the Sioux Falls Stampede.  Looking forward to that game at the IceBox already.  Only a little more than two months away!

Here are some highlights of the Stars' season schedule:

  • In the first half of the season (34 games), the Stars will play 16 games at home, and 16 games on the road.  Even steven.

  • In the second half of the season (34 games), the Stars will play 16 games at home and 16 games on the road.

  • 17 Friday night home games, 12 Saturday night home games, 2 Tuesday night home games, and 1 Wednesday night home game.

  • No Halloween or New Year's Eve home game in Lincoln this season (again).  The Stars will be on the road on 12/31/12 in Waterloo, IA against the Blackhawks.

  • The Stars will play at home the day before St. Patrick's Day in 2013 on Saturday, March 16th against the Green Bay Gamblers.

  • The Stars will play at home on Wednesday, November 21st (the day before Thanksgiving) against the Omaha Lancers.  That should be a fun one.  The Stars will travel to Chicago, IL to take on the Steel on the Friday after Thanksgiving (11/23), and then on to Dubuque, IA to take on the Fighting Saints on the Saturday following Thanksgiving (11/24). 

  • The Stars will play three weekday (not counting Friday) games at home: against the Omaha Lancers (Wednesday 11/21/12), the Waterloo Blackhawks (Tuesday 1/15/13), and the Sioux City Musketeers (Tuesday 3/5/13).

  • On Saturday, February 9th the Stars will take on the Omaha Lancers in the first ever outdoor USHL game which will be held at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, NE.  Faceoff will be at 12:35pm CST.  Click here to read more about that event.  Can't wait for that one!

  • The Stars will play five of their first six games of the season at home at the IceBox.

  • The longest home-stand at the IceBox is only 3 games (occurs five times during the season).  It's hard to believe the Stars don't have at least four straight games at home next season.

  • The longest road swing for the Stars is 4 games (occurs three times during the season).

  • Lincoln only has two times during the regular season where they will play three games in three nights: January 25, 26, 27 (two of the three are at home) and February 14, 15, 16 (all three on the road).

  • The Stars will play 53 games against Western Conference opponents, and only 11 games against Eastern Conference opponents.  I wish there was a way to see more Eastern Conference teams at the IceBox.

  • Indiana and Chicago are the only two teams we will not see at the IceBox next season.

  • # of games against opponents
    Omaha - 10
    Tri-City - 9
    Fargo - 8
    Sioux Falls - 8
    Sioux City - 8
    Des Moines - 6
    Waterloo - 4
    Cedar Rapids - 2
    Dubuque - 2
    Youngstown - 2
    Chicago - 1
    Green Bay - 1
    Indiana - 1
    Muskegon - 1
    Team USA - 1

    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 2012 Fall Classic which will be held from September 19-22 in Sioux City, Iowa.

    25-player protected the numbers

    I did this last season, so I thought I'd do it again this year.  This idea was borrowed from an article I saw last year on the SC Musketeers blog.  I thought was a fun and different way to look at the players recently protected on the Stars' 25 man roster.  

    This list is subject to change due to the fluidity of the protected roster.  The information below is based on the roster as it looks right now.

    General stats:
    Points by returners: 226
    Goals by returners: 74 
    Points by returners heading into last season: 134

    Goals by returners heading into last season:  49
    Number of players with 5 games of USHL experience: 13 
    Number of players with 5 games of USHL heading into last year: 16
    Players who were drafted by the Stars: 20 
    Undrafted players who made protected roster out of tryout camp: 2
    Undrafted players previously acquired by trade or waivers: 3

    Drafted players broken down by year:

    2012 Entry Draft: 6 (Bitzer, Yano, Pittman, Olsson, Wood, Bunn)
    2012 Futures Draft: 0
    2011 Entry Draft: 5 (Kinne, Parrottino, Wold, Woods, Muto)
    2011 Futures Draft: 1 (Lettieri) 

    2010 Entry Draft: 4 (Scheid, Ladue, Schutt, McKee)
    2010 Futures Draft: 3 (Johnson, Frye, Hawkinson)
    2009 Entry Draft: 0
    2009 Futures Draft: 1 (Shine)

    Current players who are imports: Teichroeb, Yano, Wold, Neville (all from Canada)

    Broken down by birth year:
    1992: Teichroeb, Ladue, Kinne, Suter, Scheid
    1993: Bitzer, McKee, Yano, Muto, Donlin, Shine, Schutt, Wood, Wold, Neville
    1994: Frye, Woods, Aston-Reese, Johnson, Hawkinson, Parrottino, Olsson, Bunn

    1995: Pittman, Lettieri

    By home state:
    Minnesota: 6  (Bitzer, Donlin, Schutt, Lettieri, Kinne, Scheid)

    Michigan: 3  (Pittman, Shine, Parrottino)
    New York: 2  (Muto, Aston-Reese)
    North Dakota: 2  (LaDue, Johnson)
    Alaska: 1  (Woods)
    Colorado: 1  (Hawkinson)
    Massachusetts: 1  (Olsson)
    Nebraska: 1  (Suter)
    North Carolina: 1  (Bunn)
    Washington: 1  (Frye)

    By country:
    U.S.A.: 19
    Canada: 6 (Teichroeb, McKee, Yano, Wood, Wold, Neville)

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

    Stars alumni at 2012 NHL development camps

    I thought I'd put a list of all of the current and past players of the Lincoln Stars who have been invited to NHL development camps this summer.  Some of these camps have already been completed, some are in progress right now, and some have yet to be held.  I thought about posting this article a week or two ago, but there were a number of NHL teams that had yet to release their development camp roster.  I think my list below is pretty accurate, but if I missed any current or former Stars alumni, please let me know.  A few NHL teams have yet to announce their development roster, so this list may grow.

    I'm going to post these in alphabetical order and also include the years they played in Lincoln.  Click the team links in blue to see the full camp rosters.

    Andrew Aamon: 2009-10
    Washington Capitals (free agent invite)

    Zach Aston-Reese: 2010-Present
    New Jersey Devils (free agent invite)

    Chris Casto: 2010-11
    Boston Bruins (free agent invite)

    Jared Coreau: 2009-10
    Calgary Flames (free agent invite)
    Edmonton Oilers (free agent invite)

    Kyle De Laurell: 2007-08
    Chicago Blackhawks (free agent invite)

    Ryan Dzingel: 2009-11
    Ottawa Senators (2011 draft pick)

    Jason Gregoire: 2006-08
    Winnipeg Jets (2011 free agent acquisition)

    Paul LaDue: 2011-Present
    Los Angeles Kings (2012 draft pick)

    Cole Martin: 2010-11
    Dallas Stars (free agent invite)

    John McCarron: 2008-11
    Edmonton Oilers (2012 draft pick)

    Mike McKee: 2011-Present
    Detroit Red Wings (2012 draft pick)

    Ben Oskroba: 2010-11
    Toronto Maple Leafs (free agent invite)

    Brodie Reid: 2009-10
    San Jose Sharks (2011 free agent acquisition)

    Kevin Roy: 2011-12
    Anaheim Ducks (2012 draft pick)

    Michael Sdao: 2007-09
    Ottawa Senators (2009 draft pick)

    Brent Tate: 2009-12
    Washington Capitals (free agent invite)

    Congrats to all those listed!  Hopefully we'll see all in the NHL some day.

    Tuesday, July 3, 2012

    Lettieri, Reno, and Malone named to USA U-18 Select Team

    Vinni Lettieri (F), Parker Reno (D), and Sean Malone (F), all draft picks of the Lincoln Stars in the 2011 USHL Futures Draft, were chosen by USA Hockey today to participate in the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament as members of the U.S. Under-18 Select Team.  The tournament will be held from August 13th-17th in Breclav, Czech Republic, and Piestany, Slovakia.  Click here to read more.  Click here to view the U-18 Select Team roster (pdf format). 

    Lettieri, Reno, and Malone were selected after participating at USA Hockey's Select 17 Player Development Camp, which was just held in Rochester, NY from June 24th-29th.  The camp showcased the top players from the United States born in 1995.  In six games at the development camp, Reno scored two points (1g, 1a), while Malone scored four points (2g, 2a).  Lettieri scored two points (both goals) in three games before suffering a groin injury.  All three were on the same team (Gold) at the Select 17 camp, and their team went 5-1 and won the championship.

    Stars draft pick and affiliate player Max Humitz, who was also invited to the Select 17 Team USA development camp, scored 3 points (2g, 1a) in six games and was also on Team Gold with Lettieri, Reno, and Malone.  Despite his good performance, Humitz was not named to the U-18 Select Team.

    Congrats to Lettieri, Reno, Malone, and Humitz for being invited to and participating in the USA Select 17 hockey camp, and congrats to Vinni, Parker, and Sean for being named to the U-18 Select Team.  The future is certainly bright for these future "Stars."

    Monday, July 2, 2012

    Lincoln Stars release protected roster and affiliate list

    The official protected roster is here!  Thanks to the Stars for releasing this today.  Click here to view the press release from the official Lincoln Stars website.   

    I'm going to list all of the players below (in no particular order), 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 - Michael Bitzer ('93)
    G - Jackson Teichroeb ('92 - overager) (Import)
    D - 
    Paul Ladue ('92 - overager)
    D - Mike McKee ('93)

    D - Zach Frye ('94)
    D - Austin Yano ('93) (Import)
    D - Justin Woods ('94)
    D - Zack Pittman ('95)
    D - Vincent Muto ('93)
    D - Charlie Donlin ('93)
    F - Dominik Shine ('93)
    F - Zach Aston-Reese ('94)
    F - Luke Johnson ('94)
    F - Tommy Schutt ('93)
    F - Vinni Lettieri ('95)
    F - Brad Hawkinson ('94)
    F - Bob Kinne ('92 - overager)
    F - Will Suter ('92 - overager)
    F - Eric Scheid ('92 - overager)
    F - David Parrottino ('94)
    F - Ross Olsson ('94)
    F - Jake Wood ('93)
    F - Brent Wold ('93) (Import)
    F - Michael Bunn ('94)
    F - Michael Neville ('93) (Import) 

    14-player affiliate list:

    F - Max Coatta ('94)
    F - Garrett Brossart ('94)
    F - Max Humitz ('95)
    F - Charles Guevremont ('95)
    D - Parker Reno ('95)
    D - Stuart Pomeroy ('95)
    F - Sean Malone ('95)
    F - Michael McCarron ('95)
    F - Ryan Norman ('96)
    F - Tyler Nanne ('96)
    F - Gordie Helmuth ('96)
    D - Jack Walker ('96)
    D - Michael Prapavessis ('96)
    D - Daniel Willett ('96)

    First surprise is that I don't see Eric Scheid ('92) listed.  Scheid played the 2010-11 season with the Lincoln Stars before going on to the University of Alaska-Anchorage for the 2011-12 season.  Eric decided that he no longer wanted to attend UAA, so he was to play another year in juniors this season.  Scheid was at Lincoln's tryout camp last month in Minneapolis, and looked pretty good in my opinion.  I just assumed he was a lock to make the team as a '92, but apparently that's not the case.  Makes me wonder if the Stars were able to trade him to a different USHL team that didn't have the overager "problem" that Lincoln has.

    ***EDIT*** Eric Scheid's name was originally accidentally left off the protected list on the Lincoln Stars' website, but his name was included on the protected list submitted by Lincoln to the USHL. His name has been added to the list above and to the Stars' website. Logan Smith's name was removed from the protected list posted on the Stars' website. That has been changed above also. All in all, still five overagers protected by the Stars: one goalie, one defenseman and three forwards.***

    Speaking of the overagers (players born in 1992), the Stars have protected five of them above. Each USHL team can protect a maximum of four overagers next season, so one of those five (Teichroeb, LaDue, Scheid, Kinne, Suter) will have to be cut before the start of the 2012-13 regular season.  A lot can happen to the roster between now and then, so it wouldn't surprise me at all if the overager "problem" gets sorted out before the Fall Classic rolls around in late September.  If it doesn't, then all five of the '92's will have three games at the Fall Classic to impress the coaches one more time.

    Of the 39 total players I listed in my roster prediction article, I only missed two players (Bob Kinne and Charles Guevremont) compared to the list released by the Stars.  37 correct out of 39.  Not a bad ratio.  Kinne making the protected roster does not surprise me at all.  He is a returning vet and looked great at tryout camp.  I just assumed the Stars would protect four overagers and not five.  Charles Guevremont is a draft pick from Quebec, Canada who also looked very good at camp.  I had heard some rumors that he was considering the QMJHL, so I did not include him in my predictions.  Guevremont is considered an "import" in the eyes of the USHL, and with only four imports spots available on the roster, it might be difficult for him to make the team.  We'll have to wait and see how that goes.

    Players listed in my prediction article but not on the official roster above are C.J. Smith and Craig Skudalski.  C.J. Smith was a NAHL veteran who looked good at camp, but he was also a free agent.  To be honest, my inclusion of Smith was a bit of a guess on my part.  Sometimes it can be difficult to make the team as a free agent.  Skudalski was a draft pick who looked good at times at camp, but apparently the Stars wanted to move in a different direction.

    Not on the protected or affiliate roster is draft pick Louie Nanne ('94).  No big surprise here.  Louie was at Lincoln's tryout camp this past June with his younger brother Tyler (who is on the affiliate roster). Louie will play next season for the Penticton Vee's of the BCHL.  It would have been nice to have Louie on the roster, but apparently he felt the BCHL was a better fit for him than the USHL.  Good luck to him in the future.

    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, especially players such as Max Humitz and Daniel Willett.  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, Iowa 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 2012-13 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?  I'd love to hear your opinions.  Comments are wide open!  You do not need to register to leave a comment, but BT and I will moderate each comment before it is posted.  Thanks.