Photo credit: Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times
Tomas Vokoun, who was sidelined with an injury during the playoffs, announced at Kettler Monday that he will not be back next season. The Veteran Czech netminder, who signed with the Capitals last July to a one-year deal at the surprisingly low rate of $1.5 million, is rumored to join the new Lokomotiv squad.
As per the Czech website iSport.cz:
Behind the hockey scenes, there are talks that he [Vokoun] will be a goaltender for the Yaroslavl [Lokomotiv] in Russia!
Sport talked to a few scouts and players in Russia, and all of them confirmed: “We heard about it”. Some even added: “That’s a sure thing”.
If Vokoun joins Lokomotiv, that will make a lot of sense. He lost one of his best friends, former Hurricane Josef Vasicek, in the Yaroslavl tragedy last September. There were three Czechs on the team: Vasicek, Jan Marek and Karel Rachunek.
Vokoun told Washinton Times’ Stephen Whyno in October:
“I consider Josef’s family like my family. It was so hard to see his parents and obviously his girlfriend and everybody,” Vokoun said, speaking about the crash publicly for the first time. “Such a tragedy when somebody dies like that and they’re 30 years old, full of life. He was supposed to be getting married and all that, so it’s not an easy thing to understand.”
Lokomotiv is putting together quite a roster. Among the players who have signed with them are Latvian star forward Mikelis Redlihs; one of the KHL’s best defensemen, former Caps prospect Staffan Kronwall; former Cap Viktor Kozlov as well as another player with NHL pedigree: defenseman Vitaly Vishnevsky.
Tomas Vokoun will be backed up by another veteran goalie, Vitaly Kolesnik. Despite both Kolesnik and Vokoun being considered foreign players (foreign goalie can’t play more than 2/3 of the playing time), Lokomotiv, who has a discount when it comes to the total number of the foreign players, will probably get an exception here as well.