San Jose Sharks to start season without key defenseman

Defenseman Radim Simek will not be ready to play Thursday when the San Jose Sharks open their season against the Arizona Coyotes.

Sharks coach Bob Boughner said Wednesday that Simek is still experiencing pain in his surgically repaired right knee, and that he’ll likely have to miss Saturday’s game with the Coyotes as well. After Saturday, the Sharks travel to face the St. Louis Blues on Monday and Wednesday.

Simek complained of knee discomfort on Jan. 5 halfway through training camp. He did not skate the following four days, but has been on the ice recently, including over the weekend and on Wednesday.

Boughner said Simek had an MRI recently and added, “structurally, I think everything’s fine. He’s just dealing with some pain and a little bit of swelling. But structurally, he’s fine.”

Now the Sharks have to turn to some less-experienced players to start on their third defense pair, at least for the time being. Also on the roster are Nicolas Meloche, Nikolai Knyzhov and Jake Middleton.

“From what I’m hearing, we’re hoping that (Simek) is just day-to-day and he’ll be ready for the St. Louis series,” Boughner said. “But if not, we’ve got to make some decisions on those other guys.”

Meloche, 23, Knyzhov, 22 and Middleton, 25, have a combined 16 games of NHL experience. Middleton’s fifth season in the Sharks organization, and Knyzhov and Meloche are both in their second seasons.

“I thought that Knyzhov’s had a nice camp, (Middleton) has had some good days, and I really like Meloche,” Boughner said. “Those are the three guys that we’re going to be making decisions on, and I think that’s going to be a game-to-game thing.”

Please check back for updates to this story.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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