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Agent: Penguins goalie Vokoun feels better after surgery

| Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, 3:30 p.m.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Penguins goaltender Tomas Vokoun watches during practice on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.

Tomas Vokoun is feeling like his old self, his NHL agent said Friday.

“He said he is feeling like the day before the incident,” Allan Walsh said of Vokoun, who had surgery to dissolve a blood clot last Saturday.

Walsh added that Vokoun “will hit the gym” next week and is “cleared to start skating.”

“Tomas is of the frame of mind to continue playing as soon as doctors give all clear,” Walsh said.

Vokoun, the Penguins' backup goalie, is not permitted to comment on his condition without approval from management, per club policy.

However, he spoke with some media in his native Czech Republic, and the result was an attributed report that Vokoun had nearly died and would not play again in the NHL.

Not true, Walsh said Friday.

“He talked to a couple of reporters and said he recalled saying something along the lines of surgery being scary, but he never said his life was in danger and he almost died,” Walsh said. “That's not the case. That's an embellishment and not accurate. He wanted the record cleared up.”

The recent surgery marked his second to treat a blood clot. The previous one occurred in 2006.

Vokoun is considered “out indefinitely” by the Penguins, and management has not expressed an expected recovery timetable.

The Penguins are carrying three goalies on their roster, which includes 26 skaters. Rosters must be pared to 23 players by Monday.

Vokoun counts $2 million against the $64.3 million salary cap. The Penguins must shave at least $1 million by Monday.

Vokoun is eligible for a long-term injury (LTI) designation, which temporarily would remove his value from the Penguins' cap — though general manager Ray Shero has declined to commit to that option.

A player on LTI resumes counting against the cap upon returning.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said Friday there was no update on Vokoun.

Vokoun did not accompany teammates, coaches and members of management to West Point, N.Y., where the Penguins are undergoing three days of bonding activities at the U.S. Military Academy. Mental exercises will dominate the activities, Bylsma said. Players also will practice for three days before returning Monday.

The Penguins open the season Thursday against New Jersey at Consol Energy Center.

Vokoun will not be available for that game, Bylsma said Tuesday. Marc-Andre Fleury already had been tabbed as the starter.

Although Vokoun replaced him for part of the first and all of the second and third rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs last postseason, Fleury is the No. 1 goalie, Bylsma has said.

Note: Defenseman Brooks Orpik is not expected to miss the opener. He is day-to-day with an undisclosed lower-body injury, Bylsma said. Orpik did not finish an exhibition game Wednesday at Detroit.

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rrossi@tribweb.com or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.

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