Tomas Vokoun has been battling a groin muscle strain off and on since late February, but after several consecutive days of practice the veteran netminder has deemed himself ready to play should the Capitals’ coaching staff want to use him on Thursday in Boston.
“I’m available,” Vokoun said after taking part in an hour-long optional skate at KCI. He’s appeared in only three of the past 17 games, one of that included a 30-save performance in a 4-3 win over the Bruins at TD Garden on March 10.
This is the first groin injury Vokoun has ever dealt with in his career, but the 35-year-old Czech said he has no hesitation in his ability to play.
“You look at it where we are. It’s a lot riding on the season for me, too, so there’s nothing to save anything for,” Vokoun said. “Whatever happens, happens. I play, I’m gonna try and help the team win the game. If it happens to be one game or two or 10, I can’t tell you now. There’s nothing to save it for, obviously. And I wouldn’t play if I couldn’t.
“If I felt like I wouldn’t be 100 percent out there I don’t want to hurt the guys playing at 90 percent,” Vokoun continued. “I feel like I can play 100 percent and hopefully give a good game and win the game.”
It’s unclear which of the three goaltenders – Vokoun, Michal Neuvirth or Braden Holtby -- will get the nod against Boston in what is game 78 of the Capitals’ regular season.
One thing Vokoun made clear, though, is that he would like to have the opportunity to help lead Washington in these final five games as he aims to make the postseason for the first time since 2007.
“Obviously, I’m almost 36 years old and it’s not like I think for some of the guys – there’s so many more chances,” Vokoun said. “Probably not for me. So this rides a lot for the team and for me on these next five games. So if you can, you want to be in there.”
— In other news, the Capitals announced Wednesday afternoon that they have recalled forward Cody Eakin from the AHL’s Hershey Bears.
More on the Capitals:
— Wise: Does Hunter know how to motivate?
— Hunter gives Capitals the day off
— On Hockey: Caps blow another big game
— Washington stumbles in key game vs. Buffalo
— Nicklas Backstrom passes baseline test
— Caps’ playoff picture gets dicey after loss