When it was announced that Michal Neuvirth was getting the start on opening night over Tomas Vokoun, it stunned just about everyone. You can include Vokoun in that group of people surprised by it and that can’t exactly bode well for him and he voiced his confusion about it.
Vokoun says not starting the first game is something he’s not comfortable with and he certainly didn’t expect it to happen given that he was brought in to be the Caps’ starting goalie.
Neuvirth’s strong preseason record and strong play in goal helped Bruce Boudreau decide to give him the start tonight, but for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations, you’d think giving the guy you brought in to win you the Cup would at least get the nod at home for the first game of the season.
Not so much, however. For Vokoun, it’s his first big test of mental toughness and while it’s hard enough for a goalie to deal with opponents, having to deal with a situation on your own team makes for a different brand of struggle. Vokoun has a history of rough starts to the season, he’ll need to avoid one this year to keep from giving Neuvirth the chance to start even more games.