By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports Editor
Two down and four to go.
That’s what the Kamloops Blazers are thinking as Friday’s WHL regular-season home-opener draws closer.
A week ago, the Blazers had six roster players in NHL camps. As of Monday night, that number was at four.
Centre Chase Schaber was released from a free-agent tryout deal by the NHL‘s Edmonton Oilers yesterday. Schaber, 19, played for the Oilers team at the prospects tournament in Penticton last week and was held over for the start of the team‘s main camp in Edmonton.
Schaber, who is from Red Deer, is likely to be named the Blazers’ captain before they open the season Friday against the visiting Prince George Cougars. A forward who plays hard at home and on the road, Schaber finished last season with 49 points in 68 games. He came over from the Calgary Hitmen in a January trade that also brought defenceman Austin Madaisky to Kamloops.
Madaisky remains in camp with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who selected him in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2010 draft. He is on a team roster that is included with today’s Columbus practice schedule.
Also still in NHL camps as of last night were defencemen Josh Caron (Minnesota Wild) and Corey Fienhage (Buffalo Sabres), and winger Brendan Ranford (Philadelphia Flyers).
Winger JT Barnett, who had been with Minnesota’s prospects team at Traverse City, Mich., last week returned to Kamloops in time to play in two weekend games.
The WHL and SHAW Communications released a 30-game regular-season TV schedule on Monday.
The Blazers will be featured three times, each one of them a home game -- Nov. 23, against the Regina Pats; Feb. 2, against the Everett Silvertips; and, March 8, against the Tri-City Americans.
The western telecast team will continue to feature Dan Russell doing play-by-play with analysis by Bill Wilms. The eastern crew will include Kirk Fraser, the Blazers’ former play-by-play man, and former WHL and NHL player Jeff Odgers.
The telecast host will be Joey Kenward, the former radio voice of the Vancouver Giants.
The Blazers will unveil a third set of jerseys on Saturday against the visiting Chilliwack Bruins. Kamloops will wear their jerseys for six Saturday home games in the season’s first half. The Blazers last introduced a third jersey in 2001-02.
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