BOSTON | Tomas Vokoun assured the Washington Capitals’ coaching staff and any reporter who asked that he was fine. A groin injury that bothered him over the past few weeks was healed up, he said.
So he started Thursday night at the Boston Bruins and made seven saves until what everyone feared happened. Vokoun simply left the ice with 1:35 left in the first period, skating to the bench and walking right down the tunnel to the locker room.
Michal Neuvirth replaced him and finished out the period. Braden Holtby, scratched against Boston, left his spot in the press box during the first intermission with the score tied 0-0.
It was uncertain exactly what happened to Vokoun, though it’s very possible he aggravated the groin injury. Andrew Ference took a shot with just over 1:35 left, and the 35-year-old goaltender had to slide from right to left on his knees to make the save. When he got up, he appeared to be in pain.
Vokoun was called doubtful to return by a team spokesman. Holtby can only enter the game if Neuvirth gets hurt.
Earlier in the day, Vokoun did not voice any concern about the groin problem.
“You can’t go in worried about that. It feels pretty good. That’s how I go about it,” he said. “I did a couple full-extension saves in practices and it hold up. That’s basically what I have to go by. I’m not worried about it. You’re trying to stop the puck; you’re not worried about anything else.”
On Wednesday, the veteran goalie offered up an admirable sentiment that sounds scary in retrospect.
“I wouldn’t play if I couldn’t. If I felt like I wouldn’t be 100 percent out there I don’t want to hurt the guys playing at 90 percent,” Vokoun said. “I feel like I can play 100 percent and hopefully give a good game and win the game.”
This is only Vokoun’s fourth appearance in the past 18 games.