First informations about your health troubles were very worrying. What's the situation like now?
I'm not planning to retire from hockey, the journalists have misunderstood me. I said I was in a situation that if the doctors told me to quit, I would not hesitate to do so. But I have spoken with the doctors and it is not the case. Of course I will follow their recommendations, but I would love to come back to playing hockey. But it's not something to be decided today or tomorrow, there will be plenty of time.
Were you considering retirement right at the moment you were informed you had to undergo a surgery to resolve the blood clots?
I'm almost 38 years old. No matter what has happened last week, I will have to quit playing sooner rather than later, I'm a professional hockey player and there isn't much playing time left for me anymore. I have a contract with Pittsburgh and I hope to fulfill it, as long as my health allows me to do so. If the doctors tell me I could play, then I don't see any reason why I shouldn't.
Have the doctors explained you the reasons behind your health problems? Seven years ago while at Nashville you had similar problems, does it have something to do with heavy training and playing loads as a professional hockey player?
Not at all. It's something with my veins, something that I was born with. During the surgeries they have enlarged my veins and it should be fine now, now I will undergo three months of blood thinners treatment, I'm ready for that. The season lasts longer than that, so in meanwhile I can exercise, I would consider it like longer pre-season training. I can skate, but I'm not allowed to stop the pucks or any physical contact. But I can keep myself fit, so when the doctors clear me to play, I will be ready.
Aren't you scared by the fact, that it has all happened so quickly?
I had several blood clots in many parts of my body, even the doctors aren't very sure what exactly had to happen so the blood circulation would be so low like happened in my case when my leg become so swollen. I don't have all the answers and I guess I will never know everything, I prefer to look forward. Now I'm awaiting decision of hematologic specialist, who is one of best in the United States. I will listen to what he has to say and many of my decisions will depend on that.
What will be your next schedule?
I was in the hospital at the intense care, I had to undergo three surgeries within three days, so now I'll take a break. The guys went on team-building at West Point. On Tuesday I would like to start training, knowing that I must be more careful than ever. You can deal with some scratch, it's possible to stop the bleeding. Not so much while playing hockey, you can take a hit, and you could suffer of internal bleeding, which is very dangerous.
During last playoffs your performances impressed the Penguins fans. Aren't you sorry considering that you could've played much more this season?
This is life, it has happened. I'm actually very lucky, to be alive, that the clots haven't blocked my veins during some long distance flight. There is no point to think about it any further, the situation was resolved and I hope there won't be continuous symptoms. Apart from that there is no need to talk about it anymore.
Are you happy that the club weren't looking for another goaltender, instead the club's GM Shero said directly: we will wait Vokoun's return?
My experience from Pittsburgh is more than amazing. They took care of my family while I was at the hospital. It shows what a great organization they are. This is an additional reason for me to do everything possible to get back. If they should need me, I will be ready
Thanks to Pavel and we hope to see Vokoun healthy and back on the ice as soon as safely possible!