Vokoun figures this is probably his last season


Tomas Vokoun is in the AHL on a conditioning stint as he tries to return from a blood-clot issue. Jeff Zatkoff established himself as the Pittsburgh Penguins’ backup in his absence, but if he’s healthy, Vokoun would be a nice insurance policy given his success in the 2013 playoffs and his overall experience.

Whatever role the Penguins have in mind for him, Vokoun is open to it. But it doesn’t sound like this is a step towards a 2014-15 comeback campaign.

“When (I talked to the Penguins’ coaches) back in January, I told them I’m open-minded,” the 37-year-old goaltender said, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Regardless of what happened, I was 90 percent sure it was going to be my last season anyway.”

Vokoun is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and the Penguins seem set to move forward with Zatkoff after handing him a contract extension.

If this is the end, he’ll hang up his skates with 300 wins in 700 games. He was one of the NHL’s top goaltenders during his prime, but he didn’t get many opportunities to win the Cup while playing primarily for Nashville and Florida. Of course, nothing has been decided this season. He still might retire a champion.

Tough start: Lehner knocked out of Sabres debut, won’t return

Matt Puempel, Alex Chiasson, Robin Lehner
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Chances are Robin Lehner won’t look back fondly on his first game as a Sabre.

Midway through Buffalo’s season-opener against Ottawa, Lehner — facing his old team for the first time since getting traded this summer — suffered a lower-body injury, and was forced from the contest.

During the second intermission, the Sabres ruled out Lehner for the night.

It was a difficult turn of events for 24-year-old, who admitted he was keen to go up against the Sens. He had a bit of a chip on his shoulder about his time in the Canadian capital; Lehner felt he never got a full opportunity to run with the No. 1 gig, and probably wasn’t thrilled GM Bryan Murray opted to keep Craig Anderson and Andrew Hammond instead of him.

As for tonight’s injury, details are scarce. All that’s known is the ailment was serious enough for Lehner to leave and not return, forcing backup Chad Johnson into duty.

Prior to getting hurt, Lehner had stopped 11 of 12 shots faced.


‘Canes lose Wisniewski (lower body) 47 seconds into debut

Phil Kessel, James Wisniewski
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James Wisniewski‘s time as a Carolina Hurricane is off to a troubling start.

Wisniewski, acquired by the ‘Canes at this year’s draft, exited Thursday’s season-opener against Nashville early in the first period with a lower-body injury.

Shortly thereafter, the team ruled out his return.

Wisniewski, 31, was expected to play a fairly significant role on Carolina’s defense this year.

It’s unclear what the injury is or how severe it might be, but initial reports don’t sound good; Wisniewski appeared to be in significant pain and had to be helped off the ice.