Then came an innocent question asked of Vokoun on Friday, about whether he was nervous about Saturday night’s regular-season opener against the Hurricanes.
“No, I’m not really nervous because I’m not playing,” Vokoun said.
It had been assumed that Vokoun, signed to a one-year, $1.5 million deal July 2, would get the nod. Instead, now the Caps are expected to start Neuvirth, given not only what Vokoun had to say, but Boudreau’s surprised reaction to the question.
“I didn’t know that was public knowledge now,” the coach said.
“Well, I’m not ready to comment on that,” he said.
Vokoun added the he was “supposedly” starting the next game — Monday against the Lightning.
Speaking to reporters Friday afternoon, Neuvirth confirmed that he would be in net against the Hurricanes and talked about being “pretty excited” about the opportunity.
“I just found out after practice, and, yeah, I was a little surprised,” Neuvirth said. “I think I had a great training camp and had very good preseason games and probably that’s why I’m playing tomorrow.”
Apparently Neuvirth has earned the opening-night gig. But the 23-year-old didn’t want to make it into too much.
“It’s only one game,” he said. “I’m going to stay in the net and try my best and help the team win the hockey game tomorrow and that’s all.”