Minus the concussion, Austin Madaisky can relate to Max Pacioretty.
Madaisky, a defenceman with the WHL's Kamloops Blazers, had his season come crashing to an end on Feb. 4 when he was blasted into the boards at Interior Savings Centre by defenceman Brandon Manning of the Chilliwack Bruins.
The 18-year-old Madaisky suffered a non-displaced fracture of his seventh cervical vertabrae. Today, he is recovering at home in Surrey.
Pacioretty, a forward with the NHL's Montreal Canadiens, is in hospital after being ridden into a stanchion in the Bell Centre by Boston Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara during a Tuesday night game. Pacioretty came out of it with a severe concussion and a non-displaced fracture of the C-4 vertebrae.
But while Manning, who was hit with a boarding major and game misconduct, drew a seven-game suspension from the WHL office, the NHL office revealed Wednesday that Chara wouldn't be disciplined, despite the fact that he was given an interference major and game misconduct.
"That was tough to watch," Madaisky said of the hit on Pacioretty. "As soon as I saw that . . . just the fact that it was outrageous interference . . . the puck was going down the ice . . ."
In watching replays, Madaisky also noticed that Chara used his left hand to help Pacioretty into the boards, similar to how Manning, with his left arm, spun around Madaisky, resulting in him taking the brunt of the force squarely on his upper back.
Madaisky also knows something of the road Pacioretty faces once he is released from hospital.
Madaisky, a fifth-round selection by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the NHL's 2010 draft, is back to working out, although he isn't doing any "squats . . . or jumping or power exercises."
He has been riding a stationary bike, and doing things like calf raises, lunges, and working with light weights from a seated bench press position. He also does a lot of stretching.
Madaisky was fitted with an Aspen collar before leaving Kamloops and expects to wear it for three more weeks.
But there has been some good news. The pain associated with the injury has gone away, and last week he saw Dr. Marcel Dvorak, an orthopaedic surgeon who works with the NHL's Vancouver Canucks.
"I'm getting better," Madaisky said, adding that he was told "it looks like you're going to avoid surgery if everything keeps healing the way it is."
The only pain he has really felt lately has come from watching his teammates, who have lost four straight games and are fighting for their playoff lives.
"That one (Tuesday) night was a bit of a heartbreaker," Madaisky said, alluding to a 5-4 loss to visiting Tri-City in which Americans forward Justin Feser broke a 4-4 tie with 55.4 seconds left in the third period.
"He's a good player, too," Madaisky said of Feser, who cut across just inside the Kamloops blue line and fired a shot against the flow that beat goaltender Jeff Bosch. "(Feser) was at Columbus's camp.
"I had a feeling when he was winding up . . ."
JUST NOTES:The Blazers next play Friday when the Kelowna Rockets visit Interior Savings Centre. Game time will be 7 p.m. . . . If you keep track at home, you should know that the Blazers had a total of five assists added to their goals after Tuesday's game. F J.T. Barnett was given assists on the Blazers' first and fourth goals, while F Logan McVeigh picked up one on their second goal and D Brandon Underwood on the third. F Colin Smith also earned an assist on the fourth goal. . . . Kamloops F J.C. Lipon, who left in the first period with an injury to his left shoulder, didn't skate Wednesday and is listed as day-to-day.
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