Goaltender Tomas Vokoun jumped onto the ice at CONSOL Energy Center at the conclusion of the Penguins Tuesday practice and began taking shots from some of his teammates.
Taking shots is the latest step for Vokoun, 37, who has been working his way back to the lineup after having emergency surgery on a blood clot on Sept. 21.
“It’s just another step, another small step down the road,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “He needs to see quite a bit more time and practice time and shot time in the next 2-3 weeks before he gets to another stage.”
In the meantime Vokoun will continue to get on the ice before team practices or at the end of practices to take shots.
Vokoun was removed from blood thinners in mid-January and hit the ice for the first time in four months on Jan. 22. His blood levels returned to normal and he has been taking shots against the team’s injured players – Beau Bennett and Chris Conner.
“This is not the first time Tomas has taken shots,” Bylsma said. “However, with just the two guys that are injured that he’s been skating with, which are unable to really shoot the puck very well given their injuries, and we wanted to get him to get him into a chance to see shooters that weren’t quite injured.”
As Vokoun continues to make his progression only time will tell when or if he is able to return to full team practices.
Bennett skated prior to the Penguins’ Tuesday practice with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar, as he has been doing since Jan. 13. He continues to recover from wrist/hand surgery in early November.
Bylsma said Bennett’s timetable is approximately 3-4 weeks, which would coincide with the conclusion of the Olympic break.
Defenseman Brooks Orpik was the only player missing from the team’s practice. He had a maintenance day, according to Bylsma.
The team used the following workflow at practice…