SUN Hockey Pool

Simon strong, silent type

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:22 AM ET

Chris Simon's recent play on the ice has been much like his character off it. Quietly productive.

Despite being one of the most intimidating and intense personalities when he laces up the skates, the Calgary Flames winger is soft-spoken, even shy, away from the game.

He'd probably even forgive you for failing to notice he netted his third goal in six games Saturday night.

Better still, he now has five points in that span since sitting out a Feb. 3 contest as a healthy scratch after going 18 games without a goal and 14 without a point.

This stretch is the first of the season in which Simon has strung together two and three consecutive games with a goal or assist.

In typical Chris Simon fashion, the gentle giant gave credit to linemates Shean Donovan and Jason Wiemer for his sixth marker of the season -- although they had both reached the bench on a change before the big winger scored.

"It was a great job on the forecheck by our line," Simon, whose third crack at the puck got past Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov Saturday and stood up as the winner in a 2-0 victory, said after the game. "We battled hard and I just tried to get to the front of the net and use my size. I saw (Nabokov) stand up after being down and then I got the shot away and managed to get is past him."

Wiemer, a late addition to the lineup when Kristian Huselius came down with the flu, says he's enjoying watching Simon bulge the twine more often.

"He's been doing a great job working in front of the net. Luckily, it paid off for him," said Wiemer. "He's been playing really well, him and Shean both, so it's nice to see him get rewarded."

As Wiemer mentioned, Donovan has been steadily upping his game, as well. The speedy winger also has five points in his last six games. His wraparound goal opened the scoring in Thursday's 3-1 win over St. Louis and he assisted on Simon's goal Saturday by throwing the puck to Daymond Langkow in front of the net before Simon jammed it home.

"I didn't see anything. I kind of just went back to the bench, turned around and it was in," said Donovan. "I'll see it on the replay.

"Big Si, he's awesome. He's been playing great. You see him moving his feet, unbelievable. He's such a big man and he makes so much room for himself because he's so tough."

While Simon has struggled to find his scoring touch this season, Donovan says there's no stopping him when he's got a full head of steam.

"Now he's taking it to the net, driving the net, he's playing real good hockey right now," he said.

Wiemer also sees Simon's comfort level changing.

"I think he's playing with more confidence," said Wiemer. "He's taking pucks to the net. He's not just getting the puck and looking to get rid of it. He's getting the puck and looking to make plays. Making plays by himself.

"It probably took him a while to get over the lockout. A big-bodied guy takes a while to get his legs back under him and get rolling again."

Simon is excited to be holding a hot hand at such a critical time of the year, although it's his words and not his tone that reveal it.

"It's a lot of fun to score," said Simon. "When the third and fourth line guys chip in, it seems that we win games so we have to continue to contribute offensively.

"We know how important this final stretch is before the playoffs."

The Flames took yesterday off but get back to work this morning and play the Nashville Predators tomorrow.


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