Alexander Semin isn’t the only talented-but-disappointing free agent whose days with the Washington Capitals are essentially over. CSNWashington.com’s Chuck Gormley reports that you can add Tomas Vokoun to the “departing” list.
“Tomas Vokoun said today he never intended on playing more than one season in DC”
Vokoun took a huge pay cut from his 2010-11 salary to the $1.5 million he made this season in attempt to chase a Stanley Cup. That obviously didn’t work out for him or the Capitals, but with most of the best potentially available goalies carrying caveats (such as being restricted free agents), Vokoun theoretically is still a desirable target.
Rumors are floating around from Russian Machine Never Breaks through Czech site iSport.cz that Vokoun is in talks with what will be a reconstructed Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team. Nick Kypreos reports Vokoun hasn’t agreed to a deal with Lokomotiv just yet and that “his first choice is to stay in the NHL.”
With the KHL’s provision that each team has the option of adding one returning NHL player who won’t count against the salary cap, it’s quite possible that a KHL team such as Lokomotiv might give Vokoun a more lucrative contract. Vokoun might also want to honor fellow Czech countrymen Josef Vasicek (a good friend of Vokoun’s), Jan Marek and Karel Rachunek who were on that team.
At the same time, he might feel like there’s still some unfinished business after a disappointing 2011-12 season and he should have a nice chunk of NHL suitors. He’d make a lot of sense for the Tampa Bay Lightning, Columbus Blue Jackets and any number of teams who would rather not give up assets to acquire a less-proven young backup such as Jonathan Bernier.
Either way, Vokoun will join Semin and possibly quite a few others who are exiting DC.
The San Jose Sharks became the only team in the second round to jump out to a 2-0 lead in their series. The Sharks did it by beating the Predators 3-2 in Game 2 on Sunday night.
San Jose opened the scoring in the second period when Logan Couture buried a rebound by Preds goalie Pekka Rinne. Brent Burns took the initial shot from the point and extended his playoff point streak to four games.
The Predators finally got on the board at the 12:56 mark of the third period when Mattias Ekholm tied the game at one.
Here’s the goal:
Nashville’s good fortune didn’t last very long. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski gave San Jose a 2-1 lead less than five minutes later.
Pavelski also picked up two assists in the game. The 31-year-old has at least one point in six of his seven postseason games in 2016.
Joe Thornton then added an empty-netter in the final minute of play before Ryan Johansen scored with four seconds remaining.
Despite the loss, Preds head coach Peter Laviolette wasn’t too disappointed by the way his team played.
The Predators outshot the Sharks (39-25), they outhit San Jose (46-26), but they just couldn’t outscore them.
Like the old saying goes: “you’re not in trouble until you lose a game on home ice.” The Preds still haven’t done that, which means they’re not done yet.
The series now shifts to Nashville for Game 3, which will be played on Tuesday night.
It’s a scary night for players getting hit in the head with pucks.
After Brian Elliott was hit in the head by a Jason Spezza slapshot, it was Marc-Edouard Vlasic‘s turn to narrowly avoid disaster.
In the third period of Sunday’s game against the Predators, Vlasic took a puck to the face. The end result could have been catastrophic had Vlasic not had a visor.
You can see the incident by clicking the video at the top of the page.
Hockey Twitter breathed a collective sigh of relief after Vlasic got back up:
You’ve all seen it by now (if you haven’t, click the video at the top of page). Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta was forced to leave Game 2 against the Capitals after taking a late hit from Brooks Orpik. Not only was the hit late, but Orpik also caught Maatta in the head.
After the Penguins’ optional skate on Sunday, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan wasn’t optimistic about Maatta’s chances of playing in Game 3 on Monday night.
“Olli’s being evaluated as we speak, so I don’t have any real update as far as his status is concerned,” Sullivan said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s being evaluated today, we’ll probably have more information in the morning.
“I don’t have a lot of sense of his availability. I’m probably not optimistic, though.”
After the game, Capitals coach Barry Trotz stood up for his defenseman.
“We’ll let the league handle it,” Trotz said, per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “If you know anything about Brooks, he plays hard, he plays clean. He’s not a dirty player.”
And the league certainly did handle it, as they suspended Orpik for three games.
—Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta
Brooks Orpik has been suspended for three games for his hit on Olli Maatta (top). The Caps defenseman will be forced to miss Games 3, 4 and 5 of the best-of-seven series against the Penguins.
Orpik delivered a late, high hit to Maatta in Game 2. The Penguins defenseman was wobbly getting off the ice and he was unable to return to the game.
Here’s how the Department of Players Safety saw the play:
“Orpik steps up to pressure Bonino, who quickly moves the puck to Maatta. Orpik peels off Bonino to pressure Maatta, who releases a shot from the top of the circle. The two continue on their path toward the goal line, as the puck is kicked into the slot. A full second after Maatta releases the puck, Orpik delivers a high, forceful hit making significant head contact. This is interference.”
To watch the NHL’s Department of Player Safety’s full explanation, click the video below.
This is the third time Orpik’s been suspended in his NHL career.