The condensed post-lockout NHL schedule will force teams to rely more heavily on their second goaltender. Back-to-back games will be commonplace as the league wedges 48 games in before the postseason begins.
So newcomer Tomas Vokoun should play a vital role for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Starting Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury collapsed during the playoffs last season and the team wants to keep him fresh this season.
Enter Vokoun, a long-time starter with 48 NHL shutouts to his credit. He signed as a free agent to fill the back-up role on a Stanley Cup contender.
Vokoun did stellar work in Nashville and Florida before his unhappy stint in Washington, which was marred by a groin muscle injury.
“Whatever chances I‘m going to get to play, that is probably totally up to me and how I play and how confident they feel in me,” Vokoun, 32, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “My decision (to sign with the Penguins) was based on I don‘t have that many more years to play and I want to be in a winning atmosphere and part of success.”
Coach Dan Bylsma said there is no goaltending controversy in Pittsburgh.
“Marc is our No. 1. He will be in there for the first game,” Bylsma said. “But it‘s fair to say he needs more support than he got last year, and we like what Tomas gives us there.”