By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports Editor
The Kamloops Blazers will play four WHL games over the next five days and they’ll do it without their captain.
Centre Chase Schaber, 20, suffered what head coach Guy Charron called a “lower body injury” early in an 8-4 loss to the Pats in Regina on Sunday night.
“It’s not as bad as was expected initially,” Charron said Monday evening from Saskatoon. “He is very doubtful for the rest of the trip but it’s not a long-term injury where he won’t be able to play after the Christmas holidays.”
Schaber was injured seven minutes into the game when he was checked by Regina defenceman Brandon Davidson and fell heavily into the boards. Schaber left the game and didn’t return. Davidson wasn’t penalized on the play.
“Pushing it would be the wrong thing to do,” said Charron, who added that the rest Schaber will get over the next two weeks won’t hurt. “He has played with a lot of injuries so it is a good time.”
Schaber, who has 28 points in 31 games, was plagued by leg problems last season when he played on 46 games.
The Blazers also may be without forward Matt Needham, 16, for the next while. He took a hard hit at the end of the second period on Sunday and didn’t play at all in the third period. He is being checked for concussion.
Needham, who has 18 points in 29 games, also was injured Wednesday in a 6-1 victory over the visiting Everett Silvertips. Centre Josh Birkholz of the Silvertips was given a major and game misconduct for the hit, that occurred at 2:30 of the first period, but wasn’t suspended. Needham went to the dressing room before returning six minutes into the second period. He saw limited ice time after that and wasn’t on the bench at game’s end.
However, he did play in Saturday’s 5-4 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. Charron refused to draw a connection between the Wednesday hit and any concussion that may have been incurred Sunday.
Needham is scheduled to play for Team Pacific in the U-17 World Hockey Challenge that runs Dec. 29 through Jan. 4 in Windsor.
Charron said Needham “is doubtful” until the test results are received.
The Blazers are 1-1 after the first two games of an East Division swing that continues tonight against the Prince Albert Raiders and Wednesday against the Saskatoon Blades.
They won’t play Thursday, and then will meet the Wheat Kings in Brandon on Friday and the Warriors in Moose Jaw on Saturday before breaking for Christmas.
The Blazers resume their schedule against the Giants in Vancouver on Dec. 27, with the same teams playing at Interior Savings Centre on Dec. 28.
JUST NOTES: Blazers G Cole Cheveldave will make his 12th start in the last 13 games tonight in Prince Albert. . . . G Cam Lanigan has a .776 save percentage in his last three appearances. In his two recent relief efforts, he has given up seven goals on 20 shots. . . . The loss in Regina snapped the Blazers’ eight-game winning streak. The Blazers last won eight in a row in 2006-07, when they did it twice. The franchise record is 13, something that was accomplished twice -- in 1986-87 and 1989-90. . . . Blazers D Austin Madaisky will play his 200th regular-season game tonight. This will be his 112th game with the Blazers, who acquired him from the Calgary Hitmen during 2009-10. . . . Regina D Brandon Underwood, who was acquired from the Blazers over the summer, didn’t play Sunday. He has missed four games after blocking a shot in a game in Brandon on Dec. 4. He is to be re-examined today but may not play again until January.
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