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Being Tomas Vokoun’s backup is tough work: Clemmensen may not play til November

Oct 17, 2010, 10:42 PM EDT

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Depending on the team you play for, being a backup goalie can be a stressful job. If you’re in a place where the starter doesn’t quite have a stranglehold on the job and it’s up to the backup to keep the ship afloat, it can be viewed as either an incredible source of stress or the open door for a bigger opportunity. If you’re a backup goalie like Scott Clemmensen of the Florida Panthers is and Tomas Vokoun is the starter finding the opportunity to start a game could end up providing a lot of time on the bench to wait things out as George Richards of On Frozen Pond talks about.

In four games, Vokoun has stopped 99 of 104 shots (95 percent). Coming into Sunday, that was second best in the league for goalies who have played three games or more.

Florida doesn’t play in a back-to-back contest until a home-and-home series against the Hurricanes on Nov. 5-6.

If coach Pete DeBoer sticks to his plan to let Vokoun keep going, that means Clemmensen may go more than a month without game-time experience. Clemmensen hasn’t played since beating Boston in an exhibition shootout on Sept. 25.

It’s crazy to think that the season could go by for a month and a goalie could go that long without seeing any action at all, but Vokoun’s unbelievable play is making the decision easy. While you do want to get him some rest eventually, if you’re not playing back-to-back games there’s no real need to “rest” Vokoun with all the off days thrown around on the schedule. After all, if Florida is going to threaten for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, Vokoun almost assuredly has to be their best player.

If Vokoun can still play wall-like all season, all of a sudden the demand to trade for him later in the year grows and the potential price for the future unrestricted free agent possibly goes up. Then again, playing Vokoun for 70 games will just make Scott Clemmensen’s job on the bench wearing a baseball hat even more boring. The sacrifices for team success can sometimes be yawn-inducing.

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