Winnipeg Jets

Sharks' Radim Simek posts photo indicating he's begun rehabbing injury


Sharks' Radim Simek posts photo indicating he's begun rehabbing injury

San Jose defenseman Radim Simek went down with what appeared to be a significant leg injury in the first period of the Sharks' thrilling last-second win over the Jets on Tuesday. The fact that he had to be escorted off the ice by teammates only made it seem that much worse.

Following the victory, there was no further information about the injury Simek had endured.

"Just saw a replay there and it didn’t look great, so hopefully Simer will be okay," teammate Gustav Nyquist told the media after the game.

The Sharks did not practice on Wednesday, so no update on Simek's status was provided by the team.

When in doubt, however, go straight to the source.

Simek posted a screenshot Wednesday night of his right leg in what appears to be a hefty brace.

The text overlaid on the image is in Simek's native Czech language, but insists he's already begun the rehabilitation process.

After sweeping a road back-to-back, the Sharks return home for three straight games at SAP Center, beginning with a matchup with the Florida Panthers on Thursday night. Based on Simek's initial reaction to the injury, as well as his rather large brace, it seems unlikely he will return to the lineup during the upcoming homestand.

[RELATED: Nyquist finding comfort zone at right time for Sharks]

After this set of three games at home, only nine games will remain on San Jose's regular-season schedule. The Sharks would surely love to have Simek back in tow for the final push to the playoffs, but time will tell if he's able to make that happen.

Gustav Nyquist fitting in on Sharks ahead of Stanley Cup playoffs push

Gustav Nyquist fitting in on Sharks ahead of Stanley Cup playoffs push

Gustav Nyquist created plenty of buzz the Sunday night before the NHL trade deadline when the Sharks acquired him from the Detroit Red Wings. Since then, the 29-year-old forward -- who before now had never been traded through his entire hockey career -- has worked to acclimate to his new team.

That work paid off on the scoresheet Tuesday in Winnipeg, as the Swedish winger had two goals in San Jose's big 5-4 victory over the Jets. Nyquist has tallied four points in seven games with the Sharks, and generated some grade-A looks around the net that haven’t gone in.

For a player who’s been with a new team fewer than 10 games after leaving the only organization he's ever known, Nyquist already is gelling quite nicely -- and his contributions are coming in at an important time for the Sharks.

“He’s a puck hound out there,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said after the win. “Smart player, fits with our group, and the guys like to play with him.”

You really have to hand it to Nyquist for stepping up at a time when the team is dealing with some adversity. Sure, it might not look like it, given that San Jose currently sits atop the Western Conference standings. But since Nyquist has joined the Sharks, three key players have been sidelined with injuries -- All-Star defenseman Erik Karlsson, winger Evander Kane and blueliner Radim Simek, who was hurt in the first period Tuesday. Plus, the Sharks fought off a flu bug that went around the dressing room during their last homestand.

For a new player to mesh with a group despite those obstacles is nothing short of impressive. 

“He’s an established guy, he’s an elite player, he’s great,” defenseman Brent Burns said in short about Nyquist acclimating to the team.

With a number of ailments keeping certain players out of the lineup, Nyquist has bounced around and played with different players over the short span of time he has worn teal. Nevertheless, the winger has looked comfortable in every spot in which he’s played.

When reporters in Winnipeg asked him about fitting in with the group so quickly, Nyquist was quick to compliment the level of talent he’s surrounded with in the Sharks' dressing room. 

“They’re all really good players on this team,” he said. “It’s the first time I’ve joined a new team, playing differently. Playing with really good players out there makes it a lot easier, I think.”

Moving forward, that ease should turn itself into more goals. The Sharks have just 12 regular-season games left and are trying to hold onto that top spot in the standings, all while getting healthy and ready for a deep playoff run.

[RELATED: Why one Sharks fan made Karlsson pitch with parody song]

San Jose is lucky to play eight of its last 12 regular-season contests on home ice, where the Sharks have had a lot of success. But they’ll still have to defeat heavy-hitting squads such as the Nashville Predators, Vegas Golden Knights and Calgary Flames. Those same Flames are only one point back in the standings.

If there’s a good time for a new player like Nyquist to heat up and make big contributions, that time most certainly is now.

Sharks regroup after Radim Simek injury to complete big win over Jets

Sharks regroup after Radim Simek injury to complete big win over Jets

The Sharks had to make some adjustments early in their game against the Winnipeg Jets -- and not for a positive reason.

In the first frame of Tuesday’s contest, San Jose defenseman Radim Simek got tangled up with Winnipeg’s Andrew Copp. The forward fell backward near the boards and pinned Simek’s right leg in the process. The Czech rookie didn’t get back up, writhing in pain on the ice until he was escorted with assistance into the dressing room. 

The Sharks didn’t know what exactly happened to Simek. Even after the game, players weren’t sure of his status. “Just saw a replay there and it didn’t look great, so hopefully Simer will be okay,” teammate Gustav Nyquist told the media after the game.

Nevertheless, San Jose had to keep pushing on, even though they were down to five defensemen early in the game. And this was against a heavy team on the second night of a back-to-back on the road.

They did just that as they rallied to defeat the Central Division-leading Jets 5-4.

“It was a gutsy effort. Back-to-back, five d-men,” Sharks’ coach Peter DeBoer told the press after the win. “It was one of those nights that, easily, we could’ve easily said 'hey, the bounces weren’t going our way' and packed it up. But we hung in there. This group’s got a lot of resiliency.”

Filling that void meant the rest of the d-corps had to pick up the minutes in order to contain the heavy-hitting Jets. Brent Burns -- Simek’s partner and the guy who has come up big for San Jose when it comes to leading the blue line when a skater has been injured -- ended the night clocking 28:41 minutes. Fellow veteran Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who tallied the Sharks’ first goal on the night right after Simek got hurt, clocked 23:36 minutes. Team plus-minus leader Brenden Dillon was right there as well, registering 23:30 on the evening.

But it wasn’t just the blue line that had to pick up the slack for Simek’s absence. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, who scored the game-winning goal with seconds left in regulation, told the NBC Sports California postgame show the forward attack had to adjust to the defenseman’s absence as well.

[WATCH: Captain America stuns Winnipeg with four seconds remaining]

“As forwards, you don’t want to turn pucks over, you never do,” he explained. “Then when you’re short (a defenseman) you don’t want to be doubling them up where they have to go back and spend extra time in the d-zone.”

As it turned out, the Sharks all-around effort was enough to accomplish that. Not bad for a team playing a tough game on the second half of a back-to-back on the road.

There was no further detail on Tuesday evening as to what Simek’s prognosis is, but San Jose, no doubt, is crossing their fingers he didn’t sustain an injury too serious. The Czech product has made a big impact on the lineup in his rookie campaign, finding chemistry with Burns despite not speaking English very well.

“We just complement each other with our reads without communicating,” Burns told the press with a slight smile. “He’s a smart player. He’s in the right place before he has to be there.”

The Sharks only have 12 games left in the regular season as they try to get the whole team ready to make a big showing in the playoffs. They now return to home ice for three games, starting with a contest Thursday evening against the Florida Panthers.