Yesterday Roman Jedlicka, a Czech NHL play-by-play reporter from TV NOVA Sport shared on twitter a snippet of an interview with Pittsburgh Penguins Goaltender Tomas Vokoun from the Czech website iDNES.cz
The Penguins as a team are quite hush-hush when it comes to doling out information about player injuries, so all we heard about Vokoun in the local media was that he was rushed to the hospital to undergo a procedure to remove a blood clot and that there is no timetable for his return. However, if this article proves to be accurate then that means there was much more to the story than was originally let on.
#Pens goalie Tomas Vokoun for Czech idnes.cz: "I was lucky I was sent to hospital so quickly. I nearly died during weekend. My foot was (1)— Roman Jedlicka (@jedli) September 26, 2013
swollen, I had blood clots from mid-thigh almost to the heart. I was thinking about the end of my career. It would not be so difficult (2)— Roman Jedlicka (@jedli) September 26, 2013
decision. Now I will do what doctors say. Health is clearly the main thing. I hope I have more than half of life ahead of me." (end)— Roman Jedlicka (@jedli) September 26, 2013
Here is source of that interview with Vokoun: http://t.co/waeefcam2s. But it is in Czech language...— Roman Jedlicka (@jedli) September 26, 2013
Thanks to the less than stellar automatic translation of Google Translate we are able to get a reasonable translation of the article.
Vokoun was afraid to die. After surgery says: Maybe I will not be playing hockey
Hockey fans in Pittsburgh and countries Czech peered message when the goalie Tomas Vokoun after problems with blood clots will come back in the match NHL. The answer may well be: Never. "Luckily me an hour and a half reached the hall. Escaped gravedigger’s shovel," he said in an interview with MF Dnes. "As a hockey player I’m old, but as a person not yet. I hope that I still have more than half his life ahead of him. Health is more important than sport."
Initial reports from overseas sounded so dramatically. Vokoun during training felt pain in his thigh, club doctor examined him and sent him to the hospital. Czech veteran then underwent surgery on Wednesday released him to home care. It is not yet clear when the catch again for Penguins.
"Swollen my foot, I got scared. Within an hour and a half, I was lying in the hall. This would be a life afraid of anyone. Luckily, that for me so well taken care of. Doctor knows our local specialist who operated on me now. Blood I had clots from mid-thigh almost to the heart. "
Vokoun is taking medication to thin the blood and is grateful to be alive, "I’m lucky that at that time the problem came.’s Not anything that you would have wanted under the tree, but I hope that the worst is behind me."
Pittsburgh Penguins found themselves in a precarious situation because now lack insurance for their leader Marc-Andre Fleury. Vokoun hockey but now sees problems from a different perspective. "I’m obviously thought it would for me be the end of their careers," he said. "It would not be so difficult for me decision. Now I mainly listen to doctors. Health is clearly in the first place."
If this story does hold water it certainly lends credence to the rumours that the Penguins were in talks with free agent goaltenders such as Jose Theodore and Johan Hedberg. There have been some even more frightening rumours that they could even be checking out Ilya Bryzgalov or Rick DiPietro. Either of them would likely come at a good discount since they are still being paid their buyout salary, but we would have to be exceptionally desperate to go after either of them. And of course the Penguins have Jeff Deslauriers who played for the WBS Baby Pens in 2006-07 attending their AHL training camp on a tryout deal.
Personally I am still in favor of giving Jeff Zatkoff a chance to fill in as Marc-Andre Fleury's backup until Vokoun is able to return. Since he is, according to the article, currently on blood thinners it means Vokoun will be out for 3-6 months, but that would allow him to be back in time for the playoffs. However, it also mentioned that he may be contemplating retirement, and if he does hang up the skates we could be looking at hiring a veteran backup in case Fleury stumbles in the playoffs again. But even if he does return this season it stands to reason that Vokoun is not overly likely to be back next year, as he is going to be a UFA in the summer, and with his age and blood clot history it seems like this is going to be his last year. So if that is true we need to get a good look at Zatkoff to see if he could be our NHL backup next season or if we need to look elsewhere in free agency.