THE MacBETH REPORT:
D Shaun Heshka (Everett, 2003-06) has signed a contract with an unnamed Kontinental Hockey League team, according to a press release by Ässät Pori (Finland, SM-Liiga). He had eight goals and 23 assists in 60 games for Ässät, the SM-Liiga champions this season, and had the best plus/minus during the SM-Liiga playoffs at +9 in 16 games. . . . Ässät GM Mika Toivola: “Heshka was a really big piece of our championship team. He is a great player and a great person. We wish Shaun good luck in his future challenges and I hope that one day he will return to Ässät.” Helsinki newspaper Ilta-Sanomat reported Monday evening that Heska had signed a two-year contract with Ak Bars Kazan (KHL, Russia). . . .
G Jeff Glass (Kootenay, 2002-05) signed a one-year contract with Spartak Moscow (Russia, KHL). He had a 2.02 GAA and a .933 save percentage in 38 games with Sibir Novosibirsk (Russia, KHL) this season. . . .
D Petr Kubos (Prince George, 1997-99) signed a one-year plus option contract with Kometa Brno (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He had eight goals and 12 assists in 51 games with Slavia Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga) this season.
Dwight Jaynes of Comcast Sportsnet, who is a long-time observer of the Portland sports scene, has weighed in on WHL commissioner Ron Robison’s meeting with the media there on Friday evening. Jaynes’ piece is right here, along with video of the news conference, if you are so inclined.
In the OHL, F Mark Scheifele had five points, two of them goals, as the host Barrie Colts dumped the London Knights, 6-3. . . . The Colts lead the OHL final, 2-1, with Game 4 in Barrie on Wednesday night. . . . Scheifele, the Winnipeg Jets’ first pick, seventh overall, in the NHL’s 2011 draft, leads the OHL scoring race, with 34 points in 18 games. . . . Barrie F Anthony Camara wasn’t suspended for the charging major he was given after a hit on London F Max Domi in Game 2.
Sources hit Twitter early Monday with the news that F Chris Wilkie, who turns 17 on July 10, is leaving the U.S. National Team Development Program. Wilkie, from Omaha, was a fourth-round selection by the Victoria Royals in the WHL’s 2011 bantam draft. . . . There was speculation that Wilkie, who has made a committment to the U of North Dakota, isn’t considering a move to Victoria. However, a source familiar with the situation told me that Wilkie is exploring all of his options. . . . Perhaps his immediate future rides on where he is selected in today’s USHL draft. . . . Wilkie is the son of former WHL D David Wilkie (Seattle, Kamloops, Regina, 1990-94). David was selected by the Montreal Canadiens with the 20th pick of the NHL’s 1992 draft.
With the Memorial Cup scheduled to open in their arena on May 17, the Saskatoon Blades — remember them? — continue to practice and practice and practice. On Monday, they had some familiar faces on the ice with them as they attempted to pick up the pace a bit. Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has that story right here.
THE COACHING GAME:
Dwayne Kirkup is the new head coach of the MJHL’s Neepawa Natives. Kirkup guided the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders to a 33-23-4 record this season, the last year of his contract. He was the MJHL’s 2009-10 coach of the year with the Stampeders. . . . With the Natives, Kirkup takes over from Ken Brooks, who went 13-40-7 this season.
In winning Game 2 of the WHL final, the Portland Winterhawks “showcased their ‘A’ game, and a discombobulating, speed-based blur it is, when it gets rolling,” writes John MacKinnon of the Edmonton Journal.
He continues: “The 3-0 score on Saturday night — the Edmonton Oil Kings won Game 1 by a score of 4-1 — doesn’t really capture the fashion in which the Winterhawks unleashed a transition game in which they switch from defence to high-octane offence in an eyeblink.”
MacKinnon’s column is right here.
The WHL’s playoff situation:
Portland vs. Edmonton
(Series tied, 1-1)
(All times local)
Game 1: Friday — Edmonton 4 at Portland 1 (10,097)
Game 2: Saturday — Edmonton 0 at Portland 3 (10,947)
Game 3: Today, at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Game 4: Wednesday, May 8, at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Game 5: Friday, at Portland (Rose Garden), 7 p.m.
x-Game 6: Sunday, at Edmonton, 4 p.m.
x-Game 7: Monday, May 13, at Portland (Rose Garden), 7 p.m.
x – if necessary.
All games are being televised by Shaw in Canada. They also will be televised in Portland, with Games 3, 4, 5 and 6 on Comcast SportsNet, and Game 7 on Root Sports.
Comcast and Roots will pick up the Shaw telecast that feature play-by-play man Dan Russell, along with Bill Wilms, Peter Loubardias and Andy Neal.
No Game Scheduled.
CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT (21):
CHECKING-TO-THE-HEAD COUNT (7):
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