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Vokoun medically cleared for action following blood clot issue

Feb 19, 2014, 7:57 PM EDT

Tomas Vokoun AP

NHL practices resumed today and the Pittsburgh Penguins had a new-old face on the ice at their session.

Goalie Tomas Vokoun was medically cleared after being out since September with a blood clot issue and took part in team practice in Pittsburgh. As Sam Kasan of the Penguins’ site shares, Vokoun is happy to get back out there.

“My agenda is practice and see how I feel and how it goes. Take it one day at a time,” Vokoun said. “It’s pretty much left open. I’m trying to get back, see how I feel. Make sure (it) holds up.”

Vokoun, 37,  said he’ll push himself as hard as he can to get back in the Penguins’ lineup. Jeff Zatkoff took over for him as the backup behind Marc-Andre Fleury when his blood clot issue was discovered.

Vokoun said he nearly died from the problem that arose in September. Since having the blood clot dissolved, he was put on blood thinners right away and has been off them since mid-January. It was then that he returned to the ice to skate, but now he’s back to facing shots.

Zatkoff has performed admirably in Vokoun’s absence, but if they can get the veteran goalie back before the end of the season, the Pens would enjoy giving Fleury a few extra nights off to prepare for the playoffs.

  1. penguins87and71 - Feb 19, 2014 at 8:23 PM

    I’m happy for Vokoun, but I’m not sure how affective he will actually be, if he does comeback. If Fleury falls apart again, I’m not to confident Vokoun can come in do what he did last year.

    • killerpgh - Feb 19, 2014 at 8:58 PM

      Why wouldn’t you have faith in Vokoun? Vokoun has been solid his entire NHL career. If he is able to come back and get a few game in to knock some of the rust off I would feel better with him backing up MAF than Zatkoff. Tim Thomas is older and took a whole year and other than having a bad team infront of him he has had a good year.

      The “bad” thing with Vokoun potentially coming back to the roster will be the Penguins will have to carry 3 goalie or potentially lose Zatkoff through waivers.

      • c9castine - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:32 PM

        it might mean a guy like kobasew going on waivers. zatkoff might not get picked up simply because his contract is one way and not many teams are currently looking for a 2nd slot goalie with 15 nhl games experience. including the penguins.

        im ok with Zatkoff but a healthy Vokoun is clearly a better option. zatkoff is the backup of the future.

      • penguins87and71 - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:07 PM

        I don’t know maybe it’s because hes 37 years old and hasn’t played in 6 months! Yes Tim Thomas carried the Bruins to a Stanley Cup title, but not every goalie is Tim Thomas. Also once the olympics are over it will be the stretch run to the Playoffs. The Penguins still have a lot to play for they are only 5 points up on the Boston Bruins and putting a goalie in the net that hasn’t seen game action in 6 months is not going to help you get home ice throughout the Playoffs. I would rather just ride out the rest of the season with Fleury and Zatkoff. If I were Vokoun I would take this season off and get in game shape and sign with another team during free agency.

  2. c9castine - Feb 19, 2014 at 8:56 PM

    and so begin rampant speculation.

    all i have to say is good stuff. good to see the guy healthy and playing hockey again, and wearing a penguin logo doing it. he deserves that.

  3. dschrode2013 - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    I wonder if he has a disease of hypercoaguability. This is the second time he has had this issue. He had a significant episode in 2006 I believe.

  4. Hockeyfan - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:04 AM

    Would have to think with the world class medicine available in Pittsburgh that a hypercoag state has been addressed. It is curious though why he is not not lifelong anticoagulants considering this is his second episode of thromboembolic disease.

    It is a very long layoff for Vokoun. Hard to think he will be ready to play this season.

    • dirt2013 - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:48 AM

      He can’t play while on blood thinners.Simple as that and that will be why he retires.

  5. penguins87and71 - Feb 20, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    His off of blood thinners.

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