Karlsson, Simek leave Sharks-Golden Knights with injuries


SAN JOSE -- The Sharks were down two defensemen by the end of Saturday's 3-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights at SAP Center.

Radim Simek skated just one shift in the second period and didn't return after Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault cross-checked him as he played the puck behind San Jose's net. Erik Karlsson, meanwhile, didn't play for the remaining 11:31 after sustaining a lower-body injury, coach Bob Boughner said in a postgame video conference.

"He's on the trainer's table right now getting worked on, so I don't think it's anything crazy serious," Boughner said. "I think he just tweaked something, so he's getting the work done now."

Boughner had no update on Simek's condition, only to say that he had an "upper-body" injury. Simek, according to Boughner, "was already stung" before the hit from Marchessault.

Karlsson missed 27 of the Sharks' final 33 regular-season games in 2018-19 with a groin injury, which also kept him out of Game 6 of the Western Conference final when San Jose was eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues. He underwent groin surgery in June 2019, shortly before signing an eight-year, $92 million contract to remain with the Sharks. The Swede played in 56 games last season before breaking his thumb last February, leading San Jose with 40 points at the time of the injury.

Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said prior to the season that Karlsson was healthier than ever with San Jose, but the two-time Norris Trophy winner scored just four points -- all assists -- through the Sharks' first 12 games entering Saturday. Karlsson was held off the scoresheet against the Golden Knights.

Simek, 28, missed the Sharks' first two games this season after experiencing pain in his surgically repaired right knee. The Czech defenseman missed San Jose's final 12 regular-season games in 2018-19, the entirety of the 2019 playoffs and the first 15 games last season as he recovered from surgery that repaired his ACL and MCL. Simek also underwent minor surgery on the same knee in December of 2019.

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If Karlsson and/or Simek is to miss time, the Sharks will need to call up a defenseman from the Barracuda, their AHL affiliate, or the taxi squad.

The Sharks currently have left-shooting defensemen Fredrik Claesson and Jacob Middleton on their taxi squad. San Jose signed Claesson, a veteran of 155 NHL games, as a free agent last month. Top prospect Ryan Merkley, a right-handed shot, is yet to record a point with the Barracuda in three AHL games this season.

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