Tomas Vokoun’s family flew in to watch him start the season opener Saturday night. They’re set to leave Sunday before he makes his regular-season Capitals debut, as Michal Neuvirth will be in net for Saturday night’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Friday night, Vokoun’s agent, Allan Walsh, told The Washington Times that the Caps not starting Vokoun at home for the opener could be “perceived as a slap in the face.”
Vokoun on Saturday expressed disappointment and surprise over coach Bruce Boudreau’s decision to give Neuvirth the nod.
“[It’s] one game. Obviously it’s not very comfortable for me. But I’m here to play hockey and do my job,” he said. “I don’t make those kind of decisions.”
Asked about his emotions, Vokoun did express some surprise. The Caps had said since July that he was the No. 1 goaltender.
“I didn’t expect it, honestly. But you know what, this is not the kind of business where you can expect things and stuff like that,” Vokoun said. “I’m disappointed but I think that’s the right thing to do every time you don’t play. You’re not going to be happy about it, especially when it’s opening night.”
Neuvirth said Thursday he was being rewarded for a good training camp and preseason – something Vokoun confirmed after conversations with goaltending coach Dave Prior. The two talked for at least a half-hour after the morning skate.
“They just said Michal had a good camp and they want to have that recognized,” Vokoun said. “They didn’t tell me that [Friday] but today they told me it’s not reflection on me. They’re as much as confident in me as they were two months ago.”
Boudreau was ready for questions about goaltending and brushed the topic aside Saturday morning, like he did a day earlier.
“I’m not going to talk about who’s starting and who’s not starting as far as goalies go right now,” Boudreau said.
Vokoun said Prior told him he would start Monday against the Lightning.