Sharks coach Peter DeBoer opens up about his mid-game concussion


Sharks coach Peter DeBoer opens up about his mid-game concussion

SAN JOSE -- Concussions are, unfortunately, something associated with playing hockey. But we typically only think of the skaters on the ice as the ones taking the hits. We forget that the individuals behind the bench are susceptible to danger as well.

Perhaps that’s why when NBC Sports California asked Sharks coach Peter DeBoer how he was feeling one week after being hit in the head with a puck, he was surprised.

“How do I look?” DeBoer responded, chuckling along with the media after Monday’s morning skate.

Although the exchange was light-hearted, the event that prompted that conversation was a bit scary.

DeBoer took a puck to the temple during San Jose’s Jan. 7 contest with the Los Angeles Kings. He missed the following day’s game -- a contest with the Edmonton Oilers that resulted in a 7-2 Sharks victory -- and was presumed to be sick. It wasn’t until later that he revealed he’d been hit in the head.

“I’m feeling better but not 100 percent, I’ll be honest with you,” DeBoer said roughly seven days after the incident. “They’re strange injuries. I won’t get into all the details of it. I’m definitely better but still a little bit off.”

It’s no secret the NHL takes head injuries very seriously, having just beefed up and updated its league-wide protocol for concussions at the start of the 2016-17 season. That serious approach extends to all members of the team -- and DeBoer, despite returning behind the bench for the Sharks’ next game against the Vegas Golden Knights, has stayed off the ice for the team’s subsequent practices because of concussion symptoms.

Since symptoms vary from person to person and can last upward of a year, it’s difficult to say how long DeBoer will deal with the aftermath of that errant puck. Although he told the media he wasn’t dealing with anything serious.

“It’s little things like that, nothing major,” he insisted.

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DeBoer isn’t the first coach to sustain a head injury mid-game -- or even the first Sharks coach to do so. As fans likely recall, San Jose's former bench boss, Todd McLellan, was knocked out by a stick during a 2012 game against the Minnesota Wild.

DeBoer revealed he recently talked about the incident with McLellan and other NHL coaches who’ve dealt with similar misfortune.

“He got knocked right out,” DeBoer said. “He said it was about a week before he started feeling normal again.

“Talked to some other coaches,” DeBoer continued, pointing specifically to Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice, who took a puck to the head in 2014.

“Paul Maurice, I talked to as a friend of mine" DeBoer said. "He said he couldn’t watch video for a few weeks.”

It isn’t set in stone how long DeBoer will feel the effects of that puck to the head. He did admit, however, he felt taking a puck to the noggin might have given him a new perspective on how members of his team deal with head injuries.

“That’s probably the silver lining of this,” DeBoer confessed. “You get kind of numb to (concussions). I haven’t had one in 30 years.

“I think, going through this, I’ll definitely have a different perspective the next time one of the guys walks in with one.”

Sharks' Radim Simek to miss about two weeks for minor knee procedure


Sharks' Radim Simek to miss about two weeks for minor knee procedure

The Sharks have dealt with their fair share of knee issues over the last few seasons, and they're going to have to work through another one over the next few weeks.

Defenseman Radim Simek will miss about two weeks as he needs to undergo a procedure on his surgically repaired right knee, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson told reporters in Tampa on Sunday before San Jose's game against the Lightning. 

Simek tore his ACL and MCL in March, and had surgery soon after. He initially was projected to rejoin the team at the start of the season, but Simek didn't return to game action until Nov. 5. In 16 games this season, Simek has scored four points (one goal, three assists) and posted a minus-12.

[RELATED: Sharks lament 'poor, poor effort' late in loss to Lightning]

Despite those pedestrian numbers, Simek's presence in the Sharks lineup makes a big difference. San Jose is 4-10-1 when Simek has not played this season and 11-4-1 with him in the lineup.

Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said Tim Heed would play in Simek's place Sunday. Although Heed has played well in his last couple of games, it's still possible Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson will play more and share Simek's responsibilities, much like they did at the start of the season when Simek initially was out.

Sharks lament 'poor, poor effort' in third period of loss to Lightning


Sharks lament 'poor, poor effort' in third period of loss to Lightning

For the first 40 minutes of Saturday's game in Tampa Bay, the Sharks had the Lightning within their reach. Sure, San Jose went into an early 1-0 hole, but they kept grinding in an effort to even up the score.

But after finding themselves down 3-0 in the waning minutes of the second stanza, the Sharks' effort took a backseat on their way to losing 7-1. It collectively became a game San Jose wants to put in the rearview mirror as quickly as possible, but also served as an important lesson as the Sharks continue to iron out mistakes.

"It was a strange game," head coach Peter DeBoer told reporters at Amalie Arena after the loss. "At the end of 40, I was pretty happy with how we were playing. I didn't think we deserved to be down 3-0, but that was the reality. The third period was just unacceptable. A poor, poor effort. I think instead of sticking with it we started feeling sorry for ourselves after that fourth goal and maybe started thinking about tomorrow and you can't do that in this league. Throw that one out."

Logan Couture agreed with DeBoer's assessment.

"I thought we played pretty well through two, I thought we had some good five-on-five looks," Couture said. "I didn't like our third period. We gave them some many freebies and let our goalies down. For the first 40 I thought we played hard, it could have been a one or two-goal game."

San Jose generated a couple of good looks in the first 40 minutes, with a Kevin Labanc chance in the second being the best. But through two periods -- and most of the third period -- San Jose was unable to find the back of the net.

"I don't think we started as bad as maybe the score was telling us," Erik Karlsson said. "That's the way it goes sometimes."

Bolts' netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy stood tall as he came within minutes of handing the Sharks their first shutout loss of the 2019-20 season, but Couture insisted San Jose didn't put enough pressure on him.

"He played well, he made saves, but I think we could have done a better job with traffic," Couture said. "There were second opportunities around him and they did a good job of boxing us out. We've got to be hungrier around their net to score goals."

Even though the Sharks seemed content overall with how they play through the first two periods, there's no denying that the first five minutes set a tone for the rest of the evening. The Sharks were granted six minutes of power-play time thanks to a tripping penalty on Ondrej Palat 15 seconds into the game and then high-sticking double minor on Mathieu Joseph a little over five minutes later. San Jose couldn't convert on any of their chances, stretching their power-play goal drought to a ghastly 0-for-22.

While the power play isn't the only thing the Sharks have to correct after Saturday's loss, it has definitely raised concern.

"I've been trying to be patient through it," DeBoer admitted, "but it hasn't been good and it's getting to the point now where, tonight a big difference in the game was special teams. Especially when we get those early ones, that's a chance to grab some momentum on the road."

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The Sharks are fortunate enough to have a quick turnaround after Saturday's loss, heading to Sunrise to face the Panthers in a Sunday matinee.

"Overall, I think this is a game we're going to have to learn from," Karlsson summarized. "We've got to figure out a way to be successful no matter who we are playing. Today was a tough one on the score sheet, but we have a game again tomorrow. We have to fix the things that make us successful."