For the second straight game — this time, in a 5-2 loss to Ottawa — Washington head coach Dale Hunter yanked his starting goalie, Tomas Vokoun, before the second period had let out.
But this time Hunter took things a step further, ripping his goalie’s play in the postgame presser.
“Tomas would like a few of them back,” Hunter said of Vokoun, who allowed four goals on 11 shots. “He wasn’t as sharp as he should have been, and it’s in the back of our net.”
“We need some big stops early that’s part of the game and tonight we played a good, solid road game and we lose. Goaltending is a big part of the game and we need good goaltending.”
While the 35-year-old netminder has struggled over his last two starts, it’s not entirely indicative of his play this year. Heck, it’s not even indicative of his play in February.
In eight games this month Vokoun is 3-4-1, but has posted two shutouts and boasts a .927 save percentage. Outside of the two latest debacles against Carolina and Tampa Bay you could argue he’s been one of Washington’s better performers this month — he hasn’t allowed more than three goals in a single contest (save the Sens game) and posted 30-save and 42-save shutouts in Montreal and Florida.
Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, Vokoun is represented by player agent Alan Walsh.
And just in case you’re wondering some more — yes, Walsh responded to Hunter’s criticisms.
“I’m not going to comment directly on what someone may have said after a game,” Walsh said in a text to the Washington Post. “I will point out though that hockey’s great coaches throughout history never resorted to publicly singling out a particular player, blaming him for a loss.
“Where I come from, you win as a team and lose as a team. The oldest, most tired excuse in the book is to blame the goalie.”
Good times in Washington, hey?