Tomas Vokoun shook his head. Yes, he skated and took shots from some Washington Capitals teammates Wednesday, but, no, there was no news to report about his groin injury.
Vokoun has been out since March 29 and he has no idea when he’ll be back.
“I don’t. Honestly, I have no idea,” the 35-year-old goaltender said. “The explanation from the doctor to me was that it’s like a concussion. Somebody heals in months, somebody else [sooner], it all depends on how your body is reacting so you can’t predict.”
A groin injury is just about the worst thing a goaltender can get, based on the movements required to effectively play that position. This is the first of Vokoun’s career, and it’s not a small problem.
“I had an MRI and it was a pretty severe tear so those take time to heal,” he said. “It’s very frustrating for me to watch the team play and battle, but there’s nothing I can do.”
Vokoun was 25-17-2 in the regular season with a 2.51 goals-against average and .917 save percentage. He suffered the groin injury in late February, then aggravated it March 16 in Winnipeg and then again March 29 in Boston.
Since then, he has had to watch as Braden Holtby took the reins and became the playoff starter.
“Obviously you play whole year and go through up and downs. This is the fun time and this is when you want to play,” Vokoun said. “It’s specifically for me I came here for that actual experience and not to be able to play it’s really hard. But that’s life. It’s out of my control. It’s still a game. It’s not the end of the world. It’s disappointing, but that’s how this situation is and just got to deal with it.”
Vokoun, who will be an unrestricted free agent July 1, called it a “time-consuming injury” and conceded he’s nowhere near 100 percent, though it’s getting better.
The progress, unfortunately, is slow.
“Obviously it’s a weak muscle. We’re just trying to strengthen it and keep it loose and try to let it heal. But I’m learning this as I go and doing what they’re telling me,” Vokoun said. “But I just know the feeling I have on the ice and when I get into certain situations I just can’t do it, and if you can’t do it then… you just can’t do it.”