Radim Simek wants to play again this season. He’s getting close too, according to San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn.
That might be surprising after two, maybe three concussions for Simek this season.
On Nov. 13, he suffered his first concussion of the year because of a Mason Shaw cheapshot.
The 6-foot-0 defenseman, self-admittedly, might have come back a little too quick, returning to action just two weeks later on Nov. 25.
Simek told San Jose Hockey Now recently that he felt fine and everything checked out with the training staff before his Thanksgiving return, but looking back, he wishes that he had taken a little more time.
Then on New Year’s Eve, Simek ran into Mason Marchment and endured his second concussion of the season.
This time, Simek and the San Jose Sharks were extra, extra careful, and he said as much. While he returned to practice on Jan. 17, he didn’t play an actual game until Feb. 28.
But in his third game back, on Mar. 4 against the Washington Capitals, Simek started feeling off once again.
“I didn’t get a big hit or something,” he told San Jose Hockey Now last week, after his first practices since the reoccurrence of concussion symptoms. “But during the game, I started feeling symptoms again. So after the second period, I [told them I] had a headache and couldn’t play.”
After the game, Quinn actually reported two injuries for Simek. A lower-body injury from blocking an Alexander Ovechkin shot, and an upper-body injury a la the return of concussion symptoms.
Small favors, his foot injury is better. Simek said the pain was manageable from the beginning and joked that a couple friends from his native Czechia were impressed that he blocked a shot from the legendary Ovechkin.
And the concussion?
“I’m feeling much better,” Simek reported last week. “It’s tough times. I’m feeling shitty about it. Because I’m out, I’m getting back, I’m out again. It’s frustrating for me.”
As for the sentiment that he should just play it safe as possible and shut it down for the season? Simek gets it, but it goes against the nature of a hockey player.
Of course, it’s different now for the recent father. Wife Anna gave birth to first-born Melinda last January.
“It’s not just about me,” Simek acknowledged. “It’s about my family and my daughter. I want to be a good father and be [there] for her.”
But the 30-year-old is still a hockey player, with one year left on his contract with the San Jose Sharks after this season. Quinn said today that Simek might be able to play on this road trip, which ends this Saturday in Calgary.
Hockey or health? Hockey or home?
“I want to play hockey too, right?” Simek said.
Hopefully, Simek can have it all.
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