Return of Tomas Vokoun dissipates: Michal Neuvirth to start

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SUNRISE, Fla. | The Florida Panthers promoted Monday night as the return of Tomas Vokoun, the Washington Capitals goaltender who spent four years here.

But it will be Michal Neuvirth in net for the Caps instead.

Vokoun voiced disappointment about not getting the nod in the town where his wife and two daughters still live.

“Those are decisions coach makes. I’m a paid employee, and I don’t make those kind of decisions,” Vokoun said. “I’m a hockey player. I’m here to play games. When they tell me I’m playing, I’m playing. When they tell me I’m not playing, I’m not playing.”

Dale Hunter made his thought process sound simple.

“It’s just a choice. There’s not much to explain,” the Caps’ caoch said. “Me and Dave Prior talked about it, and we thought it was a good way to go.”

Neuvirth made 32 saves on 34 shots Saturday night to pick up his first win since Nov. 4.

“I thought he was solid,” Hunter said. “He controlled his rebounds well and lots of traffic in front and he was big in net.”

Vokoun told the Miami Herald he learned Saturday night he wouldn’t be playing.

Vokoun shut out the Panthers at Verizon Center Oct. 18 by making 20 saves. The Caps won 3-0.

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