By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports Editor
Columbus? Springfield, Mass.? Kamloops?
Austin Madaisky doesn’t know.
Today, the veteran defenceman will continue to practise with the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers.
Other than that, well, he really doesn’t know.
Will Madaisky, 20, be in the Blazers’ lineup on Sept. 21 when they open the regular season against the visiting Prince George Cougars?
Madaisky doesn’t know. Really, he doesn’t know.
What he knows is this: If the NHL labour situation sorts itself out over the next few days, he will leave to join the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sept. 19. If that doesn’t happen, he heads for Springfield, the home of the Falcons, the Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate, on Sept. 26.
After that, well, he doesn’t know.
Madaisky has signed a three-year contract with the Blue Jackets, who selected him in the fifth round of the 2010 NHL draft. So it is the Blue Jackets who, to a large extent, are calling the shots.
That’s why he has played in just one of the Blazers’ four exhibition games to this point, and why he isn’t likely to play Friday when Kamloops (4-0) closes out its preseason against the Prince George Cougars (3-1) at Interior Savings Centre.
However, Madaisky said, if he is here on Sept. 21, he will want to play.
“Oh, yeah,” Madaisky said after Monday’s practice. “I would expect to play once the regular season starts.”
Naturally, head coach Guy Charron wants the all-star defenceman in the lineup, too, but he sounded a bit more cautious.
“As long as he’s here,” Charron said, “he’s available to us.”
However, Charron admitted that “Columbus would prefer that he not play in games here,” adding that the Blue Jackets hadn’t clarified if that was exhibition or regular-season games.
Still, Charron said, exhibition games are one thing and that things change when the Blazers start to play for real on Sept. 21.
“Our season is important and it’s important for us to start off on the right foot,” Charron stated.
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