Blog Entry

Why Tomas Vokoun chose Capitals over Red Wings

Posted on: September 6, 2011 9:44 pm
 
VokounBy: Adam Gretz

It's not often that you hear about a player turning down a contract offer from the Detroit Red Wings because another team gives him a better opportunity to win the Stanley Cup.

It usually works the other way around, seeing as how the Red Wings have appeared in five of the past 14 Stanley Cup Finals, winning four of them.

For example: Prior to the 2008-09 season Marian Hossa, who had been on the losing end  of the Stanley Cup Final the previous season as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins (against the Red Wings), turned down more lucrative offers in free agency to sign a one-year deal with Detroit because that was the team he felt gave him the best chance to win. As it turned out, his decision didn't work out for him that season (the Red Wings ended up losing to the Penguins) and Hossa would have to wait another year to eventually get his ring as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Earlier this offseason former Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Washington Capitals, which seems like an incredible value for Washington since the 35-year-old Vokoun has been one of the better goalies in the league in recent years.

On Tuesday, he spoke with Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post and confirmed that he had turned down an offer from the Red Wings because he felt the Capitals roster this season is closer to winning the cup, as well as family considerations (he said it would be easier for his family to visit Washington than Detroit, while the Capitals have an easier travel schedule).

Of all the reasons given, the opinion that Washington is closer to a Cup certainly stands out.

From the Post:
“Looking at Washington’s lineup compared to Detroit, they are comparable teams,” Vokoun said. “But Detroit in last 10 years won three times Stanley Cup. And Washington never won it. But that’s a lot better challenge for me and the team, to be able to do something special.”

He later added: “My belief is this team has a better chance to win than Detroit does. And they showed a lot more interest, so that was the key for me, too.”
Vokoun didn't specifically address it, but it might also be worth pointing out that the starting job may have been easier to obtain in Washington (where Michal Neuvirth was the returning starter) than it would have been in Detroit (Jimmy Howard). Both teams are likely to be at the top of their respective conferences when the regular season ends, so it all comes down to the playoffs.

On paper the Capitals seemingly have everything a team would need to not only contend for the Cup, but also win it. They can score, they have one of the best offensive-defenseman in the NHL (Mike Green) and added some nice role players this offseason with Joel Ward and Troy Brouwer, to go along with Vokoun, a legitimate No. 1 goaltender in recent years. But it seems like we've been saying that for a couple of years now, and the playoff record is what it is. They've won their division in each of the past four seasons, finishing as the top seed in the Eastern Conference two years in a row, but have managed to get out of the first round only twice over that stretch, and never beyond the second round.

They should be close to winning it, and perhaps Vokoun is one of the missing pieces to getting them there.

Photo: Getty Images

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Comments
kkjyywlpo
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 15, 2011 10:46 pm
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Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: September 8, 2011 11:51 am
 

Why Tomas Vokoun chose Capitals over Red Wings

I agree, that's what I meant about misplaying Howard's contract.   The decision not to be in play for Vokoun was decided months before.   I didn't think it was a bad move by Holland unless he thought goalies were going to be much more expensive this year.

Holland will never share that information with us but I would bet he thought a guy like Vokoun would go for a lot more then he did as an UFA.  When you consider what Bryzgalov signed for in Phili you have to wonder why Vokoun signed for so little..... kinda crazy actually.  That being said I'm fairly certain Holland's intention was to stick with Howard as his number 1 goalie for at least one more season.  I wasn't the biggest Jimmy Howard fan out there but I have to admit he played some damn good hockey in the playoffs this year.  I can't remember who mentioned the numerous times he gave up 4 goals this year but believe me when I tell you this was Detroit's weakest defensive effort I can remember for a while now so I can't put anywhere near all the blame on Howard.

I'm not sure if the Wings addressed the defensive issues they had last season, but we'll know soon enough.  Ian White and Commodore may or may not help the Wings, I can't be sure at all what they are going to do.  Holland might look like a genius or the biggest fool ever, nobody knows.  What I do know is this much though.  Rafalski played most of the season banged up and hung out with trainers and therapists most of the time which might explain why he wasn't the player he used to be, especially defensively.  He retired now...... Kronwall got off to a slow start last season but my prediction is Kronwall has a great year... he's in a contract year and with the way people overpaid for dmen this year it'll be interesting to see what Kronwall is going to get in the open market next summer.  I wouldn't be surprised if the Wings traded him midway through the season because I highly doubt Holland is willing to overpay like so many others did this past summer. Does Kronwall want to stay bad enough to sign an early extension? Maybe, maybe not.   When players like Wisniewski are getting 5.5 million dollars per year for 6 years and erhoff makes the fortune he's making, I won't blame Kronwall if he doesn't want to take less to stay in Detroit.                                                



Since: Jul 1, 2010
Posted on: September 8, 2011 8:55 am
 

Why Tomas Vokoun chose Capitals over Red Wings

I didn't think it was a bad move by Holland unless he thought goalies were going to be much more expensive this year.  
correction, I didn't think it was a bad move by Holland unless he thought the goalies were going to be much less expensive this year.



Since: Jul 1, 2010
Posted on: September 8, 2011 8:53 am
 

Why Tomas Vokoun chose Capitals over Red Wings

Holland, without mentioning Vokoun's name already told us why Vokoun isn't going to play hockey in Detroit.
I agree, that's what I meant about misplaying Howard's contract.   The decision not to be in play for Vokoun was decided months before.   I didn't think it was a bad move by Holland unless he thought goalies were going to be much more expensive this year.  

I'm sure Vokoun would have taken the best offer from either team had he had a real chance to be the number 1.



Since: Sep 7, 2011
Posted on: September 8, 2011 4:05 am
 

Why Tomas Vokoun chose Capitals over Red Wings

The only way the capitals make it out of the east is if Tim Thomas gets hurt . Sorry fans but the bruins are primed to be the best team in the east for many years with a team loaded with young talent and the best goaltender in the world ... With high draft picks because smart trading by the gm



Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: September 7, 2011 10:02 pm
 

Why Tomas Vokoun chose Capitals over Red Wings

Holland has the best track record for a gm in the game right now, but it's very possible he misplayed the Howard contract and may have had a chance to land Vokoun on the cheap and missed it. 

Hockeybob.  Holland, without mentioning Vokoun's name already told us why Vokoun isn't going to play hockey in Detroit.  He was asked about the backup goalie situation and why the Wings didn't sign a more proven goalie a couple times and responded with the same answer every time he was asked.  He said he had serious discussions with an excellent veteran goalie but Detroit was a tough sell since Jimmy Howard is the starter and a good veteran that can still play doesn't wanna back up Howard for 50 or 60 games.  He implied that was the only reason they didn't sign that well known and excellent veteran goalie..... 

In my opinion that's clearly the reason why Vokoun didn't sign with the Wings, he didn't want to back up Howard and the Wings weren't willing to make any other promises to Vokoun.  Nothing Vokoun says could convince me that he honestly believes the Capitals have a better shot at a Stanley Cup then the Wings do.  As a matter of fact the Capitals have done nothing in the playoffs to convince anybody they can even get to the finals.... I'm a big Ovie fan, if the Wings don't win it I'd actually love to see Ovie lift the cup this season but history tells us there is no way anybody wanting the best chance to win a cup would choose the Capitals over the Wings or any one of a few other teams. 



Since: Oct 8, 2009
Posted on: September 7, 2011 11:18 am
 

Why Tomas Vokoun chose Capitals over Red Wings

I'll be interested to see how Vokoun reacts to his situation in Washington this season. He's proved he can perform when the pressure is off (when he was with Nashville and Florida). Now he's going to have a lot of pressure to put up the numbers playing for a bonafide contender.

Kenny is good at his job, but he isn't perfect. As for Hossa, he may have underperformed in the playoffs that season in Detroit, but he scored like a madman in the regular season. In the playoffs I think that Detroit's abysmal PK (73% for the playoffs) was a bigger factor in them not winning the cup than Hossa's lack of offense. Frankly with that number, I'm amazed they made it to the final let alone game 7.

I don't blame Vokoun for picking Washington. Easier travel, family concerns, and a greater challenge all seem like decent reasons to me. I'd have loved to see him play for the Wings. But the Wings will have to be happy with Conklin and Howard.



Since: Jul 1, 2010
Posted on: September 7, 2011 9:08 am
 

Why Tomas Vokoun chose Capitals over Red Wings

Hossa did not play well for the Red Wings and is a shadow of his former self.
That shoulder injury he played through might have explained some of it in Detroit.   He missed 2 dozen games from that one, he still has 49 goals in 112 games and logs a ton of ice time in defensive situations, and he's only had a handful of games playing  5 on 5 on a line with an actual center instead of a wing in the center position.   10 of his missed games were because Nick freakin Boynton crashed into him at a practice.   I don't think Hossa started a decline yet, and he's hardly a shadow.  He got his ring too.
Can't wait to see Vokoun,  a great #2 goalie for a team, to munch on his words.
Why want a Vokoun when you can have a goalie who can give up 4 or more goals in 20 games last year?  (Vokoun only had 12 in only a few less games on a terrible team).   Holland has the best track record for a gm in the game right now, but it's very possible he misplayed the Howard contract and may have had a chance to land Vokoun on the cheap and missed it.   



Since: Aug 26, 2006
Posted on: September 7, 2011 8:39 am
 

Why Tomas Vokoun chose Capitals over Red Wings

As Vokoun already stated, how many Cups has the Capitals won in the last 10 years?  Answer: Zippity do dah.  There is a reason for it.  The Red Wings have some of the best management in sports and have proven that by their consistency. Even when salary caps were being put in, Red Wing Doubters were saying the Wings will suffer because they can't buy their way to a Cup.  Again Red Wings Mangement proved them wrong. Hossa did not play well for the Red Wings and is a shadow of his former self.  Can't wait to see Vokoun,  a great #2 goalie for a team, to munch on his words.  Please pass the mayo Mr Vokoun.


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