While the Kamloops Blazers put a 10-game WHL winning streak on the line Friday night at Interior Savings Centre, defenceman Austin Madaisky expects to be watching the AHL's Springfield, Mass., Falcons play another game.
The Blazers are at home to the Brandon Wheat Kings Friday, with the Victoria Royals here on Saturday.
Madaisky, 20, is eligible to return to the Blazers, but is under contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Falcons' NHL parent. He is one of 10 defencemen on the Falcons' roster, and has been a healthy scratch for the regular season's first four games.
The Falcons (3-1-0) are scheduled to play three games this weekend, with the last one a Sunday afternoon affair.
"It's not looking like I'll be in the first one," Madaisky said Wednesday evening from Springfield, "but it's a three-in-three. Anything can happen . . . I just have to be ready."
Of the 10 defencemen, nine are healthy; sophomore Dalton Prout, who played 62 games with the Falcons last season, was injured in this season's second game.
Thanks to the NHL lockout, this is anything but your typical season in the minors, and Madaisky said the Falcons' top six defencemen all have NHL experience.
"It is a little frustrating," he admitted, "but I knew this was going to come . . . you have to pay your dues and this is a lockout year."
A fifth-round selection by Columbus in the NHL's 2010 draft, Madaisky said that, other than not playing, he has enjoyed his first extended professional experience.
"It's been good," he said. "We've been doing a lot. I'm usually in the gym and skating every day. I've been doing a lot of extra skating because I haven't been playing. Overall, that's been good so far."
Before leaving for Springfield, Madaisky was in camp with the Blazers, who acquired him from the Calgary Hitmen during the 2009-10 season. So he has more than a passing interest in the run the Blazers have put together.
"It's unbelievable," he said. "It seem every time JC Lipon has the puck, it's in the net."
Asked if at least a part of him wishes he was part of it, Madaisky replied: "Absolutely."
Then he paused and added: "At this point, I just want to play . . . somewhere. It's definitely a great experience being here and learning. Just practising here, I can feel myself getting better in terms of foot speed and passing tape to tape, things like that . . . the overall crispness.
"But you can't replicate playing games."
The Blue Jackets also have an affiliation agreement with the ECHL's Evansville, Ind., Icemen, who have eight defencemen on their roster, including former WHLer Daniel Tetrault.
JUST NOTES: Right-winger Tyler Shattock, an ex-Blazers captain who went to the Hitmen in the deal that brought Madaisky to Kamloops, was reassigned by the St. Louis Blues from the Icemen to the AHL's Peoria Rivermen on Wednesday. . . . The Royals, who won 24 games last season, already have posted nine victories, with six of those of the come-from-behind variety. . . . Victoria beat the visiting Wheat Kings 4-3 in overtime on Tuesday night and opens a seven-game road swing in Vancouver against the Giants on Friday. . . . Victoria D Tyler Stahl, who was named team captain earlier in the week, didn't play Tuesday due an undisclosed injury. He practised Wednesday in a noncontact uniform. . . . The Blazers are 2-0-1 against the Royals this season, a 4-3 shootout loss on Sept. 28 the only pimple on their record. . . . Brandon played Game 5 of a seven-game road swing last night in Vancouver.