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Capitals breakdown: Tomas Vokoun

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Capitals breakdown: Tomas Vokoun

CSNWashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in alphabetical order. Today: Tomas Vokoun, who was traded to the Penguins for a seventh-round pick on June 4.

Tomas Vokoun
Position: Goaltender
Age: 35
HtWt: 6-1, 210
Games: 48
Record: 25-17-2
Goals Against Average: 2.51
Save Percentage: .917
Shutouts: 4
Contract Status: Signed 2-year, 4 million contract with Penguins 2 million cap hit in 2012-13

Strengths: Steady presence between the pipes and in the locker room. Good teammate willing to accept blame when he plays poorly and equally willing to point out areas his team needs to improve upon. Honest, sometimes to a fault. Excellent positional goalie capable of filling the role as a starter or backup, although he has not played fewer than 44 games in his past nine seasons.
Weaknesses: Guilty of allowing occasional soft goals. Has difficulty finding the puck through traffic. Average to below average puck handler. Suffered a groin injury on March 16 then returned prematurely and reinjured his groin on March 29, ending his season.

Memorable Moment on the ice: Vokoun looked like he might be the answer to the Capitals goaltending quandary on Feb. 7 when he stopped all 42 shots in a 4-0 victory over the Florida Panthers. It was his second straight shutout, moving him into 26th on the NHLs all-time list and improving his record to 22-13-1. We did some good things, Brooks Laich said after that win, which moved the Caps one point ahead of the Panthers in the Eastern Conference standings. But the difference maker was Tomas. Vokouns season went downhill after that. He went 3-4-1 in his final eight decisions and a groin injury ended his hopes of participating in the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

Memorable Moment off the ice: Vokoun was an open book all season. In September, when a plane carrying the entire Lokomotiv hockey team crashed, killing everyone on board, Vokoun expressed the grief of losing one of his closest friends, former teammate Josef Vasicek. Later, he talked about how he overestimated his value in free agency before signing with the Capitals and how much he missed his wife and two daughters, who spent the entire season in Florida. And, two days after the season ended, he was incredibly frank with reporters when asked about his playing future. I wasnt planning on being back here anyways, Vokoun said. For me, it was never intention to be here more than a year. A few weeks later Vokoun and his agent orchestrated a trade to Pittsburgh.
2012-13 Expectations: The Penguins might have acquired the perfect backup for Marc-Andre Fleury. Vokoun is certainly capable of giving Fleury the rest he needs while not sacrificing much in performance. Dont be surprised if Vokoun goes on a run or two that keeps Fleury on the bench and raises questions in Pittsburgh over who should be the starter in the playoffs. But it appears Vokou streak of nine straight seasons with 20 or more wins will end.

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Summer of Ovi: Ovechkin teaches son Sergei how to walk during beach vacation

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Nastya Ovechkina Instagram

Summer of Ovi: Ovechkin teaches son Sergei how to walk during beach vacation

Despite how big and tough NHL players like Alex Ovechkin seem on the ice, this video is evidence that there is something softer underneath the jersey -- no matter how deep it is.

This video from Nastya Ovechkina's Instagram story shows her husband teaching their young son Sergei how to walk while they were hanging out on the beach.

This is a precious image, and it shows fans a side of the Capitals captain that they do not often get to see.

It will leave many wondering when Ovechkin will put Sergei in a pair of skates and send him out onto the ice.

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Caps GM Brian MacLellan addresses latest Andre Burakovsky trade rumors

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USATSI

Caps GM Brian MacLellan addresses latest Andre Burakovsky trade rumors

Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky dodges trade rumors like Indiana Jones escaped giant rolling stones.

When Burakovsky made it through the Feb. 25 NHL trade deadline still with Washington it appeared he was here to stay a while longer. He even played better down the stretch. But that might not have been enough to save him. 

Multiple NHL sources said Wednesday that Burakovsky would likely be dealt at this weekend’s NHL Draft in Vancouver. There is no question he is drawing interest from teams around the league.  

“We'd like to keep him around, but obviously his name is out there a little bit, so we do talk to some teams about him,” Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said in a conference call on Thursday. “But we're not going to move him unless we get something we're comfortable with back.”

MacLellan, as blunt a general manager as there is in the NHL, might be employing semantics there. The Capitals are trying to get what they can and won’t undercut their own leverage by saying Burakovsky is out the door.

Burakovsky has frustrated coaches and executives alike in Washington. He flashes great potential and has the pedigree to be a solid middle-six forward. But he’s been stuck on 12 goals three years in a row and can’t seem to find a consistent role. Last year he was a healthy scratch six times. 

Injuries played some role in that in previous years. But Burakovsky hasn’t taken advantage of his opportunities, either. Yet he has also come up with some incredible goals. Three times he’s scored in a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup playoffs. No one can forget his goals against Tampa Bay in the 2018 Eastern Conference Final that secured Washington’s trip to the Stanley Cup Final. He’s also entering his age-25 season and had 17 goals in his second season in the NHL. 

But with a $3.25 million qualifying offer due Monday and the salary cap possibly tighter than expected, Washington might not have a choice even if it has a last-second change of heart on trading Burakovsky. 

It’s not know exactly what kind of deal the Capitals are pursuing: A one-for-one deal with a player who has his own issues? A mix of draft picks and prospects who won’t contribute to a team in “win-now” mode? Washington could always pull back – as they did at the deadline. But without knowing what MacLellan feels he needs from a Burakovsky trade it’s hard to know what would give him another chance to stay.

MacLellan wouldn’t even commit to tendering Burakovsky that $3.25 million qualifying offer by Monday’s deadline. He said Washington will take a look at the salary cap once the NHL gets around to announcing it hopefully by Saturday at the draft. Then they’ll check back with the agents of all their RFAs – Jakub Vrana is safe - and decide how to proceed. 

But if they don’t qualify Burakovsky, the one other RFA they have the rights to who would draw interest around the league, he becomes an unrestricted free agent and can sign anywhere. Hard to see how that benefits the Capitals to lose an asset they claim to value for nothing. Time is running short.

“Andre had a frustrating year this year, but I think he finished it up well,” MacLellan said. “I think from the trade deadline on, I thought he had a good playoffs. We like the player. There's been some inconsistencies there, but when he's on his game, he's a good player.”

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