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No timetable on Vokoun; Penguins stick with Zatkoff

Friday, 09.27.2013 / 4:58 PM | Dan Rosen  - NHL.com Senior Writer

WEST POINT, N.Y. -- The Pittsburgh Penguins won't know how long goaltender Tomas Vokoun will be out until he visits with his doctors early next week, general manager Ray Shero said Friday. Vokoun had emergency surgery last week because of a blood clot in his pelvis.

Vokoun's agent, Allan Walsh, wrote on his Twitter account Friday that the goalie is expected to start light workouts next week.

"I met with Tomas [Thursday] and we'll have more of an update probably next week," Shero told NHL.com. "Fortunately for him he dodged a bullet. Luckily he was at the rink and we got him to the hospital so the procedures went well. We'll just have to wait and see what the next steps are going to be and go from there. Our concerns are just with him and his health, but it was good to see him [Thursday]."

Even though there are still some unsigned veteran goalies like Johan Hedberg and Ilya Bryzgalov, Shero said for now he's sticking with Jeff Zatkoff as the backup to Marc-Andre Fleury. He expects Zatkoff will be on the bench when the Penguins open the season on Oct. 3 against the New Jersey Devils at Consol Energy Center.

Zatkoff appeared in two preseason games and gave up five goals on 45 shots. He has never played in a regular-season NHL game.

Zatkoff has spent the past four seasons in the American Hockey League, including the first three with the Manchester Monarchs as a member of the Los Angeles Kings organization and last season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Baby Penguins. He went 26-20 with a 1.91 goals-against average and .920 save percentage for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

"Obviously it's unfortunate how it happened but it's an exciting situation for me," Zatkoff told NHL.com. "Obviously this is the opportunity I've been waiting on for a while now in my career and I feel the time I've spent in the minors has helped prepare me for it. I feel I'm ready."

Shero said Zatkoff's success in the AHL last season gives him confidence that he can handle the role as the Penguins wait for news on Vokoun.

"We'll see where it goes, evaluate it and give Jeff an opportunity," Shero said. "We'll start with Marc and Jeff. We'll give these guys an opportunity, and I think Jeff is deserving of that, unless something comes our way that I don't see right now."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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