Lincoln Stars vs. Sioux Falls, 11/16/18

Lincoln Stars' Caleb Rule (left) congratulates Josiah Slavin after Slavin scored against Sioux Falls in November at the Ice Box. Now team captain Slavin and leading goal scorer Shane Pinto have been traded, leaving Rule as the top goal scorer on the Stars roster with 11.

If you look closely, you'll see that no Lincoln Stars player dons the captain's patch on his jersey.

Josiah Slavin, now with the Chicago Steel, held that honor from the summer of 2018 through 32 games for the Stars this season. With him now gone, it's a perfect opportunity for the Stars as a team to fill that void.

It's been a rugged road for the Stars (10-31-6) this season, to say the least, but for head coach Cody Chupp, not announcing a new captain this season is a perfect tool to see who steps up.

"Right now I think the message is everyone has to be a leader and everyone has to be a follower," Chupp said. "And what I mean by that is we need everyone doing things right. Saying the right things, doing the right things and obviously with TA (Tristan Ashbrook) and Duber (Zach Dubinsky) they've been around our staff for almost two years now.

"They understand what we talk about on a daily basis. They understand the things that we stress and the things that we look for. Even some new guys have some qualities in them, and by all means we expect them to step up and be vocal and lead by example."

Lincoln forward Caleb Rule has taken notice of that fact, throwing his name in the mix as a vocal leader on and off the ice.

"I think just because there isn't a letter on the jersey, guys have been stepping up," Rule said. "We've had some new guys that have stepped up and been a voice in the locker room.

"The biggest thing is staying positive and not let the negativity creep in. We just have to keep on pushing and bring our best."

Ashbrook and Dubinsky, the two remaining alternate captains, have had rough seasons of their own after suffering lengthy injuries. Ashbrook missed nearly two months at the start of the season, while Dubinsky has been sidelined since Oct. 13.

"It's been tough, and obviously not what I wanted to go through," Dubinsky said about his injury.

Dubinsky has since returned to the ice, and even though he likely won't play soon, his voice is a big one for the Stars.

"I'm a leader by example and I think the guys that watch me, if you put the hard work in, it will hopefully rub off on them," Dubinsky said.

The Stars will face the Omaha Lancers twice this weekend in a home-and-home series. The Lancers will host the Stars at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Ralston Arena before the two teams meet at the Ice Box at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7431 or tgray@journalstar.com.


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