Coach Dale Hunter didn’t offer much in the way of an update Friday on the status of Tomas Vokoun, who was forced to leave Thursday’s game in Boston late in the first period after suffering an apparent injury.
“We don’t know,” Hunter said. “It’s a day-to-day thing again.”
It’s believed Vokoun aggravated the groin muscle strain he has battled with off and on since the end of February. While it’s uncertain how much time this latest flare-up could cause Vokoun to miss, it seems unlikely that the 35-year-old Czech will be available in the last four regular season games.
Based on their comments to reporters on Friday, Michal Neuvirth and Braden Holtby are preparing to shoulder responsibilities in net down the stretch for Washington.
“Obviously I feel bad for Vokey but it is what it is,” Neuvirth said. “I proved last year that I can be the man and I’m excited and I’m going to take it one game at a time and just try to focus on tomorrow.”
Said Holtby of the unexpected opportunity: “That’s what everyone’s goal is — to be a big part of a team trying to win the Stanley Cup. When you take all personalities and teammates out of it, that’s everyone’s goal. But there’s also a human aspect to it and we want to make sure that in any way possible that [Vokoun] doesn’t feel like he’s let the team down by an injury. It’s our job to pick up a teammate and carry ourselves into the playoffs.”
Hunter said he’s not concerned about the collective ability of Neuvirth and Holtby to step up in the clutch, either. That goaltending coach Dave Prior is with the Capitals full-time and can work with the young netminders on a daily basis, Hunter added, is key.
“They got some experience,” Hunter said. “That’s pressure cooker last year in the playoffs and [Neuvirth’s] played well. Philly and Detroit, Braden has played well. It’s one of those things where it’s a game-to-game decision that’s got to be made and we sit down with our staff, with Dave Prior and we decide.”