OTTAWA | Dale Hunter made no secret of where he placed the blame for the Washington Capitals’ 5-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night. Without reporters mentioning Tomas Vokoun’s name, the coach pointed out that the veteran goaltender “wasn’t as sharp as he should’ve been.”
That Vokoun should have stopped one or two of the goals he allowed is a subject of debate. His final stat line - four goals on 11 shots - was not pretty, and he got the hook after just over 32 minutes.
But agent Allan Walsh did not agree with the way Hunter ripped his client.
“I’m not going to comment directly on what someone may have said after a game. I will point out though that hockey’s great coaches throughout history never resorted to publicly singling out a particular player, blaming him for a loss,” Walsh said in a text message. “Where I come from, you win as a team and lose as a team. The oldest, most tired excuse in the book is to blame the goalie.”
Walsh, in a series of Twitter messages, defended Vokoun’s play of late and wondered if he was “One of the key reason the Caps are within 2 pts of a playoff spot.” The 35-year-old has admitted gone through an up-and-down year but is 23-16-2 with four shutouts, a 2.52 goals-against average and .917 save percentage.
Over his past 13 starts, Vokoun allowed an average of under two goals a game and had a save percentage above .930. Yet, the Caps gave him little support, something he did not complain about when asked Tuesday.
“I’m here to help the team win and sometimes I’m not looking at it as my own stats. You want to win and I want to make the playoffs, so I’m as disappointed,” he said. “I don’t care if my stats are great or not so great. I would rather change that for wins.”
Counting the past two games, Vokoun’s save percentage over the past 12 starts is .914 and his goals-against average 2.52.