When Radim Simek got hurt blocking a shot in the San Jose Sharks’ 4-2 preseason loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Sept. 27, all he could think was “here we go again.”
“Every year, there was something,” Simek said today, after his first full practice since that blocked shot. “I was working all summer [in Czechia] and then when I came here, I was in shape and all ready to play. Then this happens in the first period of a preseason game.”
Out of his five NHL seasons, the 31-year-old has only avoided missing more than 20 games once in his NHL career — and that was when he played 40 games during the 56-game, COVID-shortened 2020-21 season. He’s suffered concussions, multiple knee injuries, COVID, and more.
When Simek got up from blocking that Nikita Nesterenko shot, he felt a familiar sense of frustration.
“Right after it, I was feeling bad,” he said, lamenting, “It was a normal blocked shot. I block 50 of those every year, but it hit me in the right spot.”
That sense of frustration turned into relief when he found out it was going to be a short-term injury.
After missing the first three games of the season, Simek felt good after his first full practice in a while.
“Tomorrow, we will see,” the 6-foot-0 blueliner said. “Hopefully it is going to be able to keep getting better and better and I will be able to play soon.”
Simek does not have a timeline to return from his injury just yet and the San Jose Sharks do not necessarily have to rush him back with the number of defensemen they have.
San Jose already had to send promising waiver-exempt defenseman Henry Thrun down to the AHL with both Simek and Nikita Okhotiuk returning from minor lower-body injuries.
When they do return, the San Jose Sharks will have nine waivers-eligible defensemen vying for eight roster spots and six spots in the lineup.
With this being the last year of his contract, there is a sense that this could be Simek’s last season with the only NHL franchise he has ever known.
But for now, he just wants to focus on what he can control.
“I’m in the same position every year, you know?” Simek said, of his place on the roster. “This is the last year of my contract, so I want to do the best. We will see what happens but I’m trying to do my best every day and that’s all I can do. If I were playing and playing well, maybe something [will] happen.”
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