Penguins goaltender Vokoun recovering, still hoping to return
After watching the Penguins dismantle the Florida Panthers, 5-1, on Saturday night, goaltender Tomas Vokoun visited his teammates in the visitors' locker room at BB&T Center.
Vokoun hopes he is wearing a uniform, not a suit and tie, when he visits the Penguins next.
Out since September after having surgery for a blood clot, Vokoun remains unable to play hockey but hasn't dismissed the idea of playing this season.
“I feel great,” Vokoun said. “Don't have any health issues. I'm still taking the (blood thinners).”
Vokoun was given a three-to-six-month timetable for a possible return. And while the 37-year-old acknowledged that retirement is possible — this is the second time Vokoun has dealt with blood-clot issues, the other time occurring when he played with Nashville in 2006 — he hasn't given up hope of rejoining the Penguins.
“It's hard to look that far ahead,” he said. “But definitely, if I get cleared, I want to try. We'll see. I don't have definite yes or no.
“It's all going to depend on the recommendations of doctors, but so far I haven't had any problems.”
When it was announced Vokoun would miss three to six months, Penguins general manager Ray Shero and Vokoun made it clear the three-month projection was optimistic.
Vokoun, who still isn't allowed to face shots, acknowledged that returning after about six months would be difficult because it would be closing in on the postseason, and he would be rusty. Vokoun, who is married with three children, knows he may never play again.
“It's always kind of a scary situation,” he said. “It's not a broken hand or something, when you're like, ‘Well, it heals, and it's fine.' This is a little bit more serious. The doctors are pretty confident they found the problem and they fixed it. Hopefully that's the case.”
In the four minutes he spent talking with the media after the first period Saturday, Vokoun shifted from optimism to pessimism, a sign that he just doesn't know what the future holds.
“When you play professional sports, you've got to understand that it's not going to be forever,” he said. “I always choose my health over anything else. Saying that, maybe that's never going to be an issue, either. Whatever happens I'm kind of preparing for the worst-case scenario. Best-case scenario, everything is going to be OK, and I can make a decision if I'm going to play or not.”
The Penguins acquired Vokoun following the 2011-12 season, and he provided stability behind starter Marc-Andre Fleury. He went 13-4-0 during his only season in net with the Penguins, and his postseason performance helped guide the Penguins to the Eastern Conference final after Fleury stumbled in the first round.
These days, Vokoun is living with his family in South Florida. Every two weeks, he meets with doctors and has blood drawn.
So far, so good.
Vokoun said having down time with his family has been nice after playing the past few seasons away from Florida, where he spent much of his career.
He was remindful, though, that he still is a member of the franchise.
“I'm still an employee,” he said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Players respect coach, refuse to blame Johnston
- Penguins coach Johnston’s mother dies
- Penguins notebook: Malkin likely to return Saturday
- Penguins notebook: Staal insists he never asked for trade to Penguins
- Penguins’ protracted slump continues with 5-2 loss at Carolina
- Penguins notebook: Adams says fight was to counter Blues’ brutish tactics
- Penguins defensemen Letang, Martin embrace heavy workload
- Penguins’ Dupuis will not return this season
- Penguins, Blues players adjust to roles with new teams