Over the course of his 13 NHL seasons, Tomas Vokoun has grown accustomed to a heavy workload.
In the four years prior to the 2011-12 campaign, Vokoun never played less than 57 games in the regular season for the Florida Panthers and since the 2002-03 season he has played less than that only once (44 games for Nashville in 2006-07).
While Vokoun could easily see a similar slate in Washington – he’s already started nine of 11 games and is scheduled to start a 10th against the Islanders Saturday – the veteran goaltender certainly doesn’t mind having a day off as he did on Friday in the first half of the Capitals’ back-to-back schedule this weekend.
“You know what, at this stage of my career I’m 35. You know how you feel, you need to rest and you look at a lot of teams now understand with the travel and everything [they need] two goalies,” Vokoun said. “You can’t put it on one guy. Even if you do it’s going to cost you at the end when the guy is not [fresh].”
Vokoun said it’s not so much coping with the physical strain but the mental pressure of preparing for a game each night over the course of the season can take its toll. Whether it’s in net, or throughout the rest of the lineup Vokoun said he sees the Capitals depth as an asset that should help them moving forward.
“People don’t realize it’s not just the 60 minutes that you’re out there, it’s the preparation all day that you go through,” Vokoun said. “It’s not, at least for me, a day just like any other when you relax and you come to the game and, ‘Ok now I’m ready.’ You’ve got to kind of build it up to the game and you know what, it’s not easy to do.
“I think our advantage here is we have two very good goalies,” Vokoun continued. “We have good team and we don’t have to play two lines most of the night. We don’t have to have defensemen play 30 minutes…. When you get older all these things add up.”