A good chunk of the team might be in Russia right now taking part in the Olympics but on Wednesday the Pittsburgh Penguins got some great news back on the home front; Tomas Vokoun has been cleared to play.
The goaltender has been out the entire season after a scary situation unfolded in the preseason. At a team practice, a blood clot was discovered in Vokoun's pelvis that required immediate attention. He underwent surgery to disolve the clot that he said saved his life just in time.
After that scary incident, it wasn't clear if Vokoun would play in the NHL again. At 37 years of age, it would be a tough road to come back.
While the answer is not clear yet if he will play again this season (or next), he's at least medically cleared to. From here it's pretty much all up to him.
Vokoun: "It'd be nice to not finish my career in the stands. To finish as a player. I'm medically cleared to do anything I need to do" #Pens— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 19, 2014
Vokoun said his focus now is on practice and trying to get himself up to health and condition so that he might be able to play for the Penguins.
Vokoun was key for the Penguins last season, taking over the starting job in the playoffs for Marc-Andre Fleury, who was struggling in the postseason once again. Vokoun played well and helped the Penguins reach the conference finals. Even with that he wasn't expected to be the starting goalie for the Penguins this season but he was going to get a decent load from Fleury.
Instead, the Penguins had to alter their plans and go with inexperienced Jeff Zatkoff in net behind Fleury. The rookie is 9-2-1 with a .909 save percentage and 2.64 goals against average. That's certainly serviceable but not up to Vokoun's .919 and 2.45 from last season in Pittsburgh.
Speaking of the Olympics, after seeing Ondrej Pavelec against the USA on Wednesday, surely the Czech Republic would have loved if Vokoun were already heatlthy and playing too.