Tag: Jeff Zatkoff

Tomas Vokoun

Agent: Vokoun wants to play next season


It wasn’t long ago that goaltender Tomas Vokoun figured that 2013-14 would almost certainly be his last season. He’s hoping that isn’t the case.

Vokoun has informed agent Allan Walsh that he’s completely committed to playing in the NHL next season.

He’ll turn 38 in July and didn’t play in the NHL in 2013-14 due to a blood-clot issue, but he did get two AHL contests under his belt before the season ended.

The Pittsburgh Penguins aren’t likely to re-sign him as they’ve already inked goalie Jeff Zatkoff to a one-way, two-year deal to serve as Marc-Andre Fleury’s understudy. Still, Vokoun was a great netminder for many years before he ran into health problems this season and he’s likely to attract some interest on the market as a potential backup goaltender.

Vokoun would bring 300 wins and 700 games worth of NHL experience with him.

Lemieux went to Pens locker room to lift Fleury’s spirits

Mario Lemieux

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has been a scapegoat/just-plain-goat enough times that Wednesday’s collapse against the Columbus Blue Jackets might not even be his lowest moment. That said, even if it wasn’t unquestionably his rock bottom moment, it was still awful for him.

In fact, things were ugly enough that the Penguins’ living legend/partial owner/guy who received statue treatment Mario Lemieux felt the need to visit the team’s locker room to console the struggling netminder.

Without proper context in what was said to the 29-year-old goalie, it feels sort of like a netminder’s answer to a GM giving a coach a “vote of confidence.” Still, it’s a nice gesture from Lemieux.

Here are the two goals in which Fleury seemed to unravel:

As you may remember, Fleury struggled enough to find himself on the bench during the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs, but Tomas Vokoun isn’t (currently?) available to try to save the day. In case you’re curious, here’s a quick comparison between the regular season numbers Fleury and his 26-year-old, little-known backup Jeff Zatkoff generated in 2013-14:

Fleury: 39-18-5 with 2.37 GAA and .915 save percentage in 64 games played
Zatkoff: 12-6-2 with 2.61 GAA and .912 save percentage in 20 GP

Zatkoff isn’t very experienced, so maybe Lemieux really was going out of his way of saying “Don’t read anything on the Internet, because you’re our guy.” But we can only speculate.

Let’s assume Lemieux was looking a little more dapper, like he was during the Penguins’ championship run quite a while ago:

source: AP
Credit: AP

Pens recall Vokoun from conditioning stint

Tomas Vokoun

Pittsburgh has recalled goalie Tomas Vokoun from his two-game conditioning assignment in AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the club announced on Monday.

Vokoun, 37, missed the entire regular season after being diagnosed with a blood clot in his pelvis during training camp. He’d previously experienced blood clotting issues in his career — missing significant time while a member of the Nashville Predators — and underwent a lengthy rehab to correct the issue this season.

While he was out, the Pens turned to Jeff Zatkoff to fill the backup void, and he did reasonably well — 12-6-2 record, 2.61 GAA and .912 save percentage. But Zatkoff, who’s never played a postseason game, lacks the big-game experience and veteran presence Vokoun brings. When No. 1 netminder Marc-Andre Fleury stumbled during last year’s playoffs, Vokoun stepped in and provided Pittsburgh with some solid play, going 6-5 with a 2.01 GAA and .933 save percentage.

As such, it’ll be interesting to see what Pittsburgh does with Vokoun now that he’s back from WBS. He went 1-1-0 over the weekend with the Baby Pens, posting a 2.41 GAA and .891 save percentage.



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.

Vokoun headed to AHL for conditioning assignment

Tomas Vokoun

Pittsburgh backup Tomas Vokoun is headed to the AHL for a conditioning assignment with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Vokoun has been officially out of the Penguins’ lineup since October with a blood-clot issue. The 37-year-old was medically cleared to play in February; now, he’ll get the chance to see some game action.

“We have to see if he can” play in a game, head coach Dan Bylsma said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Rookie Jeff Zatkoff has been backing up starter Marc-Andre Fleury in Vokoun’s absence, with mixed results.

On Saturday, Zatkoff allowed four goals on just 20 shots in a 4-0 loss to Minnesota. His overall numbers are decent, however — a .911 save percentage and 12-6-1 record.

Could Vokoun be Fleury’s backup for the playoffs? The timing suggests Bylsma would like to find out.

Vokoun, of course, took over for Fleury last postseason, making 11 starts while registering an impressive .933 save percentage.

Related: Will Vokoun play again? ‘I will try’