The Washington Times - March 18, 2012, 10:25AM

CHICAGO | Braden Holtby made his way to the visiting locker room at United Center with a rolling bag, a pack of sticks and his big, red Washington Capitals bag over his shoulder.

A member of the staff asked, “You ready to play some hockey?” That’s why Holtby is here. He arrived just minutes before the morning skate.


It seems to happen quite a bit. That’s the way this world works, the hockey world. You’ve got to be ready whenever,” Holtby said. “It was good that it was a bit of a warning because sometimes it’s just ‘Pack your bags and let’s go’ because you have to be there that night.”

Tomas Vokoun, who is dealing with a lower-body ailment that sounds a lot like a groin problem, obviously wasn’t even healthy enough to back-up Michal Neuvirth on Sunday night. Neuvirth will get the start, with Holtby serving as the backup.

The injury flared up for Vokoun Friday night in Winnipeg.

It was fine a few days ago and then obviously in the game with the amount of side-to-side movement and battling he had to do, he re-aggravated it,” associate goaltending coach Olie Kolzig said. “It’s just something that he’s never experienced before as a goalie and he didn’t know the timetable and all that. So now we’re monitoring it a little bit closer. Fortunately we’ve got two good, young kids that can fill in while he’s recovering.”

Vokoun rode a stationary bike Sunday morning outside the visitors locker room while Holtby and Neuvirth were on the ice for the morning skate. But coach Dale Hunter downplayed concern.

Tomas, he comes and competes all the time,” Hunter said. “It’s one of those things. It’s nothing major.”