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Deeper Look: Vokoun Out Indefinitely

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins announced Saturday that goaltender Tomas Vokoun is out indefinitely after undergoing a procedure to dissolve a blood clot in his pelvis. Full details here.

The cliff notes are…

  • Vokoun noticed swelling in his thigh at Saturday’s morning practice
  • He was taken to the emergency room and diagnosed wMobileith a blood clot
  • A procedure was done to dissolve the blood clot
  • When Vokoun will return to the lineup isn’t yet known

“This just came about today when he left the ice after the second practice,” Penguins general manager Ray Shero said. “His leg was swelled up a bit. That was a red flag. (Head team physician) Dr. (Christopher) Harner came down. They got him to the hospital. The good news is everything was caught early.

“Tomas is done with the procedure and resting comfortably. We’ll see where the next few days brings us.”

Shero wouldn’t speculate on when Vokoun, 37, who also missed time with a blood clot in Nashville during the 2005-06 season, would be able to return to the lineup. He noted that the team should know more on how long Vokoun will be out in the next few days.

So in the immediate future, the Penguins will have Marc-Andre Fleury and Jeff Zatkoff manning the pipes.

“If Tomas is out for a while Marc is going to have to step up,” Shero said. “Jeff Zatkoff will get an opportunity. He’ll play in one of the next two (preseason) games and we’ll see where he is.”

So what does this mean for the Penguins if Vokoun is out for an extended period of time?

Fleury’s pedigree is well known. If need be, he has the ability to carry a heavy workload. He has appeared in 50, 67, 62, 67, 65 and 67 games during single seasons in his career.

Fleury, 28, was the team’s No. 1 goalie heading into the season, so he was going to play in the majority of games regardless. Vokoun’s presence helped ease Fleury’s game demands. So if Vokoun is out for some time, look for Fleury to shoulder a big workload.

Behind Fleury is the 26-year-old Zatkoff. Though he has yet to make his NHL debut, Zatkoff has a plethora of experience at the American Hockey League level. He has a career record of 77-63-6, hitting the 20-win mark three times in four seasons with Manchester and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Zatkoff played his first season with WBS last year and was voted as the team MVP after posting 26-20 record with a 1.93 goals-against average, .920 save percentage and five shutouts.

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