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Puzzled by NHL’s standards for a suspension? So is this Sharks defenseman

Puzzled by NHL’s standards for a suspension? So is this Sharks defenseman

Two days after defenseman Radim Simek was checked in the head, resulting in him being placed on injured reserve, at least one of his Sharks teammates remained puzzled as to what the NHL’s Department of Player Safety’s standard was for meting out supplemental discipline.

Simek was knocked out of Sunday’s game with the Minnesota Wild early in the first period after he was clipped in the head on a check from forward Mason Shaw. Simek immediately left the game and was placed on IR on Monday.

Shaw was not penalized on the play and did not receive any further discipline from the NHL.

“Apparently the league thought it was clean. I don’t make the decisions but I guess it was clean,” defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic said Tuesday before the Sharks played the Vegas Golden Knights. “(Simek) got hit in the head and it was still clean.

“If I was on the Minnesota team, I would have said it was a clean hit. If I’m on the Sharks, I say he should be suspended, or the league should have looked into it. But unfortunately, I still don’t know where the line is.”

Sharks coach David Quinn wouldn’t elaborate on the nature of Simek’s injury but said he is “feeling better and better every day, which is good.” Simek is eligible to come off IR at the start of next week.

Sharks winger Luke Kunin on Nov. 3 was given a five-minute major and a match penalty for a head hit on Florida Panthers forward Patric Hornqvist. The incident, which occurred early in the first period of that game, was accidental and did not result in any further discipline from the NHL.

“I guess the difference between those two those two hits is the Simek (hit), no one saw it, and (with) Hornqvist, it was like an open ice hit,” Vlasic said. “He fell and stayed on the ice. So I guess if Simek would have stayed on the ice, and people would have seen it, maybe (Shaw) would have been suspended. That’s my opinion.

“I guess if it’s really noticeable in a game, people talk about it, then (the NHL has) no choice but to do something about it. I don’t know what (the line) is. I don’t think I’ll ever know what it is.”

Kunin said he has an idea of what the standard is for receiving supplemental discipline.

“It’s a fast game, you can’t target, things like that,” Kunin said. “I think you know the rules. Obviously, there’s some gray (area) when it comes to it. It’s such a fast game. A lot of things happen.

“Things happen so quickly that things can look bad and that’s not the intent. There’s a lot of things that go into it, but the league and player safety, they have a tough job as well.”

Kunin, who said he did not see the hit on Simek live or look at it on replay, played with Shaw for parts of two seasons from 2017 to 2019 in Iowa of the AHL. He doesn’t believe Shaw had malicious intent with the check on Simek.

“He’s dealt with injuries himself,” Kunin said of Shaw. “I don’t think he’s trying to do anything like that, but he plays a physical style game. Unfortunately, these things happen.”

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 19: San Jose Sharks' Nick Cicek (59), with Team Marchment, takes a shot against Team Ricci in the second period of the 2021 Sharks Prospects Scrimmage at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 19: San Jose Sharks’ Nick Cicek (59), with Team Marchment, takes a shot against Team Ricci in the second period of the 2021 Sharks Prospects Scrimmage at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

CICEK TO DEBUT: Defenseman Nick Cicek, who was recalled from the Barracuda on Monday to take Simek’s spot on the 23-man roster, will make his NHL debut Tuesday night, becoming the first Sharks rookie to play an NHL game this season.

The undrafted Cicek, 22, will play with Mario Ferraro as he gets the call over Scott Harrington, who has been with the Sharks as their seventh defenseman for most of the season.

Quinn said the freshness of both players was a factor. Harrington hasn’t played since Oct. 22, while Cicek has played 10 games with the Barracuda. Cicek also had a strong training camp and traveled with the Sharks to Europe last month.

“We had great conversations about him and the strides he’s made,” Quinn said, adding that he’ll tell Cicek, “to just go play hockey.

“Obviously, it’s going to be a lot of fun for him tonight. I’m sure the nerves will be at an all-time high for him, as well for every NHL player. So go out and do what you’ve done to put yourself in this position and within a short period of time, it’ll just be another hockey game to him. But he’s earned this opportunity.”

Cicek was signed by the Sharks organization to an AHL deal in 2021 after three-plus seasons with the Portland Winterhawks. He had 25 points in 53 games with the Barracuda last season and was signed by the Sharks to a two-year, two-way NHL contract in April.

VLASIC MOVES UP THE LADDER: Vlasic will play in his 1,179th regular season game with the Sharks on Tuesday, moving him into a seventh-place tie with Chris Phillips for most games played by a defenseman with one team. Phillips played his entire NHL career from 1997 to 2015 with the Ottawa Senators.

Defensemen who have played more games with one team are Nicklas Lidstrom (Detroit, 1,564 games), Ray Bourque (Boston, 1,518), Ken Daneyko (New Jersey, 1,283 games), Larry Robinson (Montreal, 1,202), Duncan Keith (Chicago, 1,192) and Tim Horton (Toronto 1,184).

Vlasic, 35, broke into the NHL in 2006, a year after he was drafted in the first round, and could move into fourth place on that list this season, as the Sharks have 63 more games left after Tuesday.









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