Tomas Vokoun

Vokoun won’t face Florida tonight, doesn’t sound happy about it


Prior to getting fired, Bruce Boudreau made a number of contentious lineup decisions for the Washington Capitals.

Seems like Dale Hunter’s picked up where Boudreau left off.

Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post reports the Caps will start Michal Neuvirth in goal tonight against the Florida Panthers — a curious move, because it prevents Tomas Vokoun from facing his former team.

“I’m a paid employee and I don’t make those kinds of decisions.” Vokoun said. “I’m a hockey player and I’m here to play games.”

Pretty pointed statement from Vokoun, who sounds like he really wanted this start. Why? Well, the history between Florida and Vokoun isn’t quite tabloid material…but it was certainly acrimonious at the end.

Vokoun spent four seasons in Miami before heading to free agency, confident a big deal was on the horizon — and that’s when the problems started. Florida GM Dale Tallon held firm with his offer (believed to be $3 million annually), Vokoun opted to test the market, Tallon warned he was close to signing Jose Theodore, Vokoun continued to roll the dice and when no solid deal materialized, he signed a one-year, $1.5-million bargain with Washington.

How badly did Vokoun’s camp botch things?

“There were even rumors that Vokoun’s people came back to Florida after the Theodore signing,” George Richards of the Miami Herald wrote. “[But] the Panthers said they had already moved on.”

“The money side, it’s not great, but I think the opportunity is unbelievable,” Vokoun said upon signing with Washington. “Obviously it was disappointing day for me on July 1. For whatever reason I was in a bad spot, and Washington came in.”

As for tonight’s game, Hunter didn’t offer up much as to why he chose Neuvirth over Vokoun. “It’s just a choice, there’s not much to explain,” he told El-Bashir. “[We] thought it was a good way to go.”

Though it’s still early, Vokoun’s time in Washington hasn’t been great. He’s posted pedestrian numbers and appeared irate on a couple of occasions (he wasn’t happy about sitting in the season opener) and now he’s sitting for one of the bigger games of the season. The Caps are five points back of Florida in the Southeast, a division Washington has won four years on the trot.

PHT Morning Skate: General Managers around the league are happy for Bergevin

Marc Bergevin
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

The Montreal Canadiens gave Marc Bergevin a contract extension on Wednesday and fellow General Managers around the league are happy for their colleague. (TSN)

Are the Washington Capitals the best team in the Eastern Conference? (ESPN)

Here’s a funny cartoon depiction of the reported feud between Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby:

Read an excerpt from Tie Domi’s book “shift work”. In this portion of the book, he talks about some crazy times at a New York City nightclub. (ESPN)

“It’s a lot more complicated than the net and the goalie equipment, it’s the systems that teams play, the willingness of players to block shots every part of their body.” Steven Stamkos weighs in on the decreasing number of goals in the NHL. (Tampa Tribune)

After the first quarter of the season, Henrik Lundqvist is’s favorite to land the Vezina Trophy. (

Preds place Salomaki on IR, recall Sissons

Jake Allen, Miikka Salomaki
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Nashville made a minor roster transaction on Thursday, putting forward Miikka Salomaki on IR while recalling fellow forward Colton Sissons from AHL Milwaukee.

Salomaki, 22, was a fairly regular lineup presence through the of November, appearing in eight games while averaging just under 12 minutes per night. Despite his relatively small frame (5-foot-11, 198 pounds), he racked up 28 hits over that time and emerged as a decent energy guy for the Preds.

As for Sissons, he’s about to get yet another crack with the parent club.

Having spent most of the last two seasons in Milwaukee, Sissons — the 50th overall pick in 2012 — has seen some action with the Preds this year. He has one goal in five games with Nashville, and eight points in 12 games with the Admirals.

Oilers say McDavid ‘ahead of schedule’ in broken clavicle recovery

Connor McDavid
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There hasn’t been much good news for the Oilers lately — Connor McDavid‘s hurt, Nail Yakupov‘s hurt, they’ve lost seven of their last nine — so what GM Peter Chiarelli had to say on Thursday qualified as very welcome news.

“He’s ahead of schedule,” Chiarelli said of Connor McDavid and his broken clavicle, per Sportsnet. “He’s been in the pool, been lifting weights… There are no soft tissue injuries, which is important.

“When you get a break like that, oftentimes there is accompanying soft tissue injuries. That slows down the recovery.”

McDavid, who suffered the injury on Nov. 3 against Philly, was originally supposed to be sidelined until early March. But per Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, there’s cautious optimism the star rookie could be back in the Edmonton lineup by “mid-to-late January.”

But even with that cautious optimism, there’s still a long way to go.

McDavid has yet to resume skating and is still at his parents’ home in Newmarket, Ontario. That said, he’s expected to join Edmonton soon — when the Oilers take on the Leafs in Toronto on Monday — and, according to Chiarelli, will want to get back onto the ice way sooner than expected.

“I can tell you that when it comes time,” he said, “[McDavid] is going to want to come back a lot earlier than what we forecast internally.”

There’s another Radulov NHL comeback rumor making the rounds

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It’s been roughly six months since the last one so yeah, time for an Alex Radulov update.

Radulov, who’s spent the last four seasons playing for KHL outfit CSKA Moscow, has reportedly rejected the club’s contract extension offer and is ready to become a free agent, per Russian sports writer Slava Malamud.

Sport-Express’ Igor Eronko also reported the Radulov news, tweeting the ex-Preds forward claimed “there’s nothing” regarding a new deal with CSKA, adding “I’m a free agent after this season.”

Radulov, 29, is having another terrific offensive campaign in Russia, with 37 points in 32 games. This comes one year after he tore up the KHL in ’14-15, with 24 goals and 71 points in just 46 contests — one of the best offensive campaigns in league history.

Rumors of Radulov returning to North America happen with the same frequency as Ilya Kovalchuk comeback rumblings, and always with the same outcome. But it’s hard to ignore them completely.


Well, back in late May, Radulov’s agent told Championat Colorado had been in contact about an NHL return once Radulov’s deal with CSKA expired. Colorado, of course, is coached by Patrick Roy — the same guy that had great success coaching Radulov in the QMJHL.

The two were, at one time, a dynamic force for the Quebec Remparts. During the 2005-06 campaign, Radulov scored a ridiculous 61 goals and 152 points in just 62 games, the nine more in four Memorial Cup contests, helping Roy capture his first and only championship as a head coach.

Radulov, of course, hasn’t played in the NHL since an ill-fated reunion with Nashville in 2012, which included him getting suspended for a playoff game after breaking curfew.

Malamud does note that, should Radulov try to return to the NHL, he’d do so as a unrestricted free agent — meaning he’s no longer Nashville property.