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Vokoun headed to AHL for conditioning assignment

Apr 8, 2014, 1:06 PM EDT

Tomas Vokoun AP

Pittsburgh backup Tomas Vokoun is headed to the AHL for a conditioning assignment with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Vokoun has been officially out of the Penguins’ lineup since October with a blood-clot issue. The 37-year-old was medically cleared to play in February; now, he’ll get the chance to see some game action.

“We have to see if he can” play in a game, head coach Dan Bylsma said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Rookie Jeff Zatkoff has been backing up starter Marc-Andre Fleury in Vokoun’s absence, with mixed results.

On Saturday, Zatkoff allowed four goals on just 20 shots in a 4-0 loss to Minnesota. His overall numbers are decent, however — a .911 save percentage and 12-6-1 record.

Could Vokoun be Fleury’s backup for the playoffs? The timing suggests Bylsma would like to find out.

Vokoun, of course, took over for Fleury last postseason, making 11 starts while registering an impressive .933 save percentage.

Related: Will Vokoun play again? ‘I will try’

  1. c9castine - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:23 PM

    I have absolutely no idea what this means. Cant even speculate on it other than to say I am happy for him to be able to play real hockey again.

    And I will say that I maintain my opinion on Zatkoff…that with more experience he is going to be a very valuable goalie to have around but If given the choice on who should be the backup in the playoffs…as long as Thomas is healthy enough it should without a doubt be him.

    • ibieiniid - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:31 PM

      Tomas*

      this the Czech Republic. speak Czech, god damnit. if you don’t like it, you can just giiit aht.

      • ibieiniid - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:33 PM

        but honestly, i wondered when the hell the Penguins managed to get Tim Thomas when i read that.

      • c9castine - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:45 PM

        lol now your talking like a yinzer.

        if you dont know a yinzer is somebody from pittsburgh who takes our dialect to a whole new level. we all speak it, some are just.. embarassing lol. but its funny anyway.

      • ibieiniid - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:51 PM

        lol down here in the south, I hear a version of that pertaining to English quite a bit. funny thing is, these f’ing hicks barely even speak English themselves.

      • ibieiniid - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:53 PM

        btw, I knew what a yinzer was. I was birthed by one.

        GASP! the Flyers fan descends from Pittsburgh?

      • ibieiniid - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:54 PM

        ^^^ that comment sounds hostile. it’s not.

      • jpelle82 - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:06 PM

        i think you got it right when you said “descends” from pittsburgh….kinda hard to ascend any higher than such heritage….

      • ibieiniid - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:09 PM

        but my pops is a South Jerseyite.

        this was essentially my life as a kid, minus the pawn shop:

        prepare to enjoy that thoroughly if you haven’t seen it yet.

      • ibieiniid - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:10 PM

        oh damnit that’s not the full version. blast.

        I’ve hit my limit for comments on this thread already. bowing out.

  2. toiletclown - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:32 PM

    Another piece of the powerhouse playoff puzzle coming back. Here we go boys

    • ibieiniid - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:53 PM

      usually (no doubt, in the Pens case) only one goalie plays for all of a team’s playoffs. more proof that you watched your first ever hockey game last month.

      • toiletclown - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:16 PM

        Vokoun took the Pens deep into the post season last year. How far did your circus of a team go? I recall they didn’t even come close to making post season. On track for another disappointing and epic failure eh?

      • ibieiniid - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:20 PM

        …so you think they’re gonna play him over Fleury? he’s not a puzzle piece. he’s a bench warmer, if anything.

        a swept series is more disappointing than not making the playoffs in a shortened season immediately after losing our captain. I’m living just fine. 3-1 vs your boys this season bud. we know you’re scared.

      • ibieiniid - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:21 PM

        lol and not winning a game in the 3rd round isn’t necessarily “deep” in the playoffs.

      • chanceoffleury - Apr 8, 2014 at 7:11 PM

        Fleury started the playoffs last year and Vokoun finished (saved?) them. They finished 4th overall, so I’d say you’re very wrong if you think a team can’t use more than 1 goalie and still go deep. Boston may have been the Little Boy to Pittsburgh’s Hiroshima, but 4th place is still better than what the other 26 teams could scratch together over 5 months.

  3. idonthavethebloodyoucrave - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:46 PM

    It means that Pittsburgh is well aware of Fleury’s history of choking in the playoffs and they don’t trust their current backup to fill in should history repeat itself again.

    Not rocket science.

    Certainly can’t blame Pittsburgh. Vokoun was clearly the better goalie in 2012-2013. If he shows any chance of being at that caliber, he’s certainly an upgrade to Zatkoff.

    Smart.

    • jpelle82 - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:09 PM

      if they get to the point where vokoun is called up…whatever series they are losing will be beyond the point of saving. no way vokoun leapfrogs zatkoff this year…not after playing no real hockey for a year does he get thrown into a playoff series under any circumstance….in my humble opinion that is.

      • idonthavethebloodyoucrave - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:22 PM

        That’s the point of the conditioning stint. Pittsburgh is kicking the tires of which back up plan will give them the best chance to win. If he can show that he’s anywhere close to the relief performance he gave when Fleury was being boo’d and laughed off the ice, he will certainly leapfrog Zatkoff.

        It’s not likely considering how much rust Vokoun will have on an aged body but Zatkoff has been no where close to reliable. And considering the history of Fleury choking in the playoffs, that’s very scary for a GM and Coach. So if the option presents itself, Pittsburgh will pull the trigger.

        No harm to Pittsburgh either way.

  4. bobc74 - Apr 8, 2014 at 4:45 PM

    Just bought my tickets for the WBS Pens game on Saturday night. Hope he gets to play!

  5. Hockeyfan - Apr 8, 2014 at 5:50 PM

    If Vokoun looks ok at WBS, he’s the back up. You have to take experience over a rookie even with decent numbers.

  6. chanceoffleury - Apr 8, 2014 at 7:22 PM

    It’s not totally out of the question for Fleury to implode the first game and for Zatkoff to be no better. The Pens have no idea what Zatkoff looks like in a playoff situation when the opponents are as high caliber as what he’d be facing. I think the Pens are gonna give Zatkoff a chance if Fleury crumbles, but if Zatkoff crumbles too, the Pens can bring in a third option and have a little faith in said option. Say Philly drops their last 4 and Columbs/Detroit wins them. That’s gonna put an insane amount of pressure on Zatkoff. Philly is nothing but trouble for Fleury. They need that 3rd option in net if Zatkoff can’t handle it. I mean Zatkoff’s been alright, but the playoffs are a different beast. You need all the insurance you can get.

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