Friday, April 25, 2014

B³ Prospect Watch - Part I

The 2013-14 season ended too soon for all of us, but it's time to look ahead to next season and the players that potentially could make a difference in 2014-15 for the Lincoln Stars.

The purpose of this particular blog article is to highlight a group of younger players the Stars have previously drafted or acquired, and are protected on their affiliate list.

This is the first of two "prospect watch" articles that I will post during the next couple of months, leading up Lincoln's upcoming tryout camp in June of 2014.

Although some of these names might not be familiar to most fans, most the players listed here will likely be playing for Lincoln sometime in the next season or two.  So get familiar with them, because you may see them soon at the IceBox.  In fact, some of the players mentioned below have already worn a Stars uniform.

If you have additional information about any of the players listed below that you would like me to add to the article, or if I have posted inaccurate info, please shoot me an email at lincolnstarshockey@gmail.com.

All fourteen players listed below were included on Lincoln's protected roster, which was released by the USHL this past February.

This is kind of a long article, so make sure you click the "Read more" link below to check it out.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Back in the saddle

After a much needed break, I'm happy to announce I will be blogging again soon.  My batteries are recharged, and I have a lot of great things planned for the B³ going forward.

I have recruited my friend Jason to help me with some of the articles here on the blog so I don't burn myself out.  Jason is a great guy with a TON of writing experience so I'm very excited to have him on board at the B³.

As always, my good friend BellTolls, who has helped with the blog since the very beginning, will assist when he can as well.

This past season was a bit of a roller coaster ride for all of us.  First came the resignation of head coach Chad Johnson before the regular season began.  A sluggish start saw the Stars spend most of the first third of the season near the basement in the western conference standings.  When it seemed like it couldn't get any worse, Chad Johnson's sudden death in November shocked and saddened us all.

For the first time since the inaugural 1996 season, the Stars had an ownership change with Chicago businessman Ryan Schiff  purchasing the organization late last year.  Next came the addition of Jon Hull as President of Hockey Operations and General Manager.  Stars head coach Jimmy McGroarty was relieved of his duties and the Stars finished the regular season in fifth place in the western conference, 20 points out of a playoff spot.  It was the third time in franchise history that the Stars did not qualify for the USHL Clark Cup playoffs.

However, the future is bright and these are exciting times to be a Lincoln Stars fan, in my opinion.  I've had the opportunity to talk personally with both Ryan Schiff and Jon Hull, and I have total faith they will right the ship.  They understand that there are big challenges ahead, but both have pledged their support and hard work to create a championship winning culture here in Lincoln.  These two men have invested fully in the Stars, and I know they will work diligently to make us proud.  Schiff and Hull will be starting from scratch with the Stars, so to speak, but the beauty of a blank canvas is that you can paint whatever picture you want to see.

The biggest decision Jon Hull will make will be the hiring of a new head coach, which hopefully happens soon.  The new face of the organization will be the fourth head coach in the history of the franchise.  Big, big hire coming up.

What's next for the blog?  Keep an eye out here in the next week or so for a look at some of the players that have been previously drafted by Lincoln who could be in a Stars uniform next season.  Also, I will post an Entry/Futures draft preview article.  I'm a draft junkie, so I'm super excited for the upcoming USHL Futures Draft (May 5th) and the USHL Entry Draft (May 6th).  We will cover those two drafts thoroughly, as always.

After that, my favorite offseason event, the tryout camp at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis which will be held from June 12th-15th.  For the seventh straight year, I will be at camp and will report back to the blog.

Also, if a head coach is announced in the meantime, we will of course blog about that as well.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for sticking with me during this extended break.  I'm glad to be back and I hope you are too.

-Tim (Yeti)