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Vokoun: 'I wasn't planning on being back'


Vokoun: 'I wasn't planning on being back'

Turns out Tomas Vokoun and Dale Hunter had something in common. Both signed one-year deals with the Capitals with little intentions of staying beyond this season.

Asked if the emergence of rookie goaltender Braden Holtby had sealed his fate in Washington, Vokoun was brutally honest with his response.

I wasn't planning on being back here anyway, Vokoun said. Im happy for Holtby. He played well. But it was never my intention to be here more than a year.

For me, it's more disappointing about how it went and obviously getting hurt and not having the chance to play in playoffs. That's what I regret more than worrying about next year. I was looking at it as a one-year thing and I'm sure that's how it's gonna be.

When Vokoun signed a one-year, 1.5 million contract with the Caps on July 2 he did so as a last resort after turning down an offer to stay in Florida and balking at the Detroit Red Wings offer to make him a backup.

In Washington he saw a chance to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2007 and fulfill his dream of winning a Stanley Cup. Vokoun had a respectable regular season, going 25-17-2 with a 2.51 GAA and .917 save percentage.

But when he returned too early from a groin injury and tore it a second time on March 29, Vokouns season was ended.

It was very frustrating, he said. Its one of those things you cant control. Its a fact of life. I waited for a chance like this a long time and I got hurt. A lot worse things have happened to people.

Vokoun said he is now 100 percent recovered from his injury and has every intention of playing next season, if not in the NHL then possibly for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the Kontinental Hockey League. Vokoun had several friends on the Lokomotiv team that perished in a plane crash last October, including one of his best friends, former Nashville Predators teammate Josef Vasicek.

Im at the point where Ill deal with stuff as it comes to me, said Vokoun, whose wife and two children spent the season in their home in Florida. Its nice to be healthy and feel that whatever happens you can play and be effective and be able to play without pain.

Vokoun said he was impressed with the transformation of the Capitals from an inconsistent team to one that he feels should still be playing.

The team came together at the right time and we played great, he said. The style of hockey we played changed and honestly, I think we were a better team than the Rangers are.

That Game 5 was clearly our game and if we would have won that, it would have been over. Thats all ifs and buts. I think we played great and played exactly the style of hockey you need to win the Stanley Cup. For whatever reason it didnt happen. If we win that seventh game in New York I think we have a great chance to go to Finals.

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Can Pittsburgh's past be a goalie rotation blueprint?


Can Pittsburgh's past be a goalie rotation blueprint?

It’s happened. The Caps no longer seem to have a No. 1 goalie anymore, they have a No. 1 and 1a.

That’s right, we have a goalie rotation in Washington.

“There's no sense riding one,” Barry Trotz said after practice on Monday. “[Braden Holtby] is coming back and looking better every game and [Philipp Grubauer] played pretty well for a long stretch so why not have both of them going?”

Grubauer got the start Sunday in Philadelphia and Holtby is slated to get the start Tuesday against the Dallas Stars. After that we will have to wait and see.


Trotz has no layout for which goalie he wants to start and when in the remaining ten games. He is not thinking about each goalie splitting five games or which one he wants to use more.

Nope. Trotz has just one thing on his mind. It is all about who starts the next game, that’s it.

“I think you just go with a guy that's hot at the time and your team feels comfortable with and go from there,” Trotz said.

So where does this leave the goaltending situation when it comes to the playoffs? A goalie rotation is all well and good in the regular season, but he has to have one starter for the postseason, right?

Not necessarily.


When Trotz was asked if he philosophically believed in having one starter for the playoffs, Trotz initially said he would not answer, but then said, “Why don't you ask Mike Sullivan what he thinks.”

Sullivan, of course, is the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins who has led his team to a Stanley Cup in each of the past two seasons despite turning to both goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray in both seasons.

While Pittsburgh’s goalie rotation was largely based on injury, however, it still provides an example of how using both goalies can work in the playoffs and that seems to be the path the Caps are headed on at the moment.

Said Trotz, “You just have to go with your gut who you think is going to get the job done.”

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NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

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NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

We are down to the home stretch. Only 10 games remain in the Capitals' regular season. Those 10 games will ultimately decide if the Caps finish in first place in the Metropolitan Division and who they will play in the first round of the playoffs.

Washington currently sits in first place in the division, two points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and four points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers. Of those 10 remaining games, only three come against teams currently in playoff position. The most critical of these comes on April 1 when the Caps travel to Pittsburgh in a game that could ultimately decide the division.

The Caps still hold a narrow lead in the standings, but where do they stand in the rankings? See this week's updated NHL Power Rankings here.