Vokoun with the Penguins during the 2012–13 NHL season.
|Born||July 2, 1976 |
Karlovy Vary, Czechoslovakia
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Weight||195 lb (88 kg; 13 st 13 lb)|
|National team||Czech Republic|
|NHL Draft||226th overall, 1994|
Tomáš Vokoun (born on July 2, 1976) is a Czech professional ice hockey goaltender who is currently playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League (NHL).
He has previously played in the NHL for the Washington Capitals, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators and the Montreal Canadiens, with whom he was originally drafted.
Early career (1994-1998)
Tomas was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the ninth round of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, 226th overall. He remained in the Czech Republic for another year, playing with Poldi Kladno.
He moved to North America for the 1995–96 season and played for the Wheeling Thunderbirds of the ECHL. He was called up to the Fredericton Canadiens of the American Hockey League (AHL) and played one playoff game.
Having proven himself in the ECHL, Tomas spent the 1996–97 season in Fredericton and played in his only game for Montreal; it was not a stellar debut as he allowed four goals in only twenty minutes of play against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Nashville Predators (1998-2007)
After another season with the Fredericton Canadiens, Tomas was chosen by the Nashville Predators in the 1998 NHL Expansion Draft on June 26, 1998. He played 37 games for Nashville in their debut season and played nine games for the Milwaukee Admirals in the International Hockey League (IHL).
Although he again split time between the two clubs the following season, by 2000, Tomas was in the NHL to stay. However, he saw only limited action as the back-up to Mike Dunham. In 2002, Dunham was traded to the New York Rangers for Marek Židlický, Tomáš Klouček and Rem Murray. Tomas was awarded the starting job.
Tomas acquitted himself well when given the chance to start and he shouldered a heavy load for the Predators. His play was good enough in 2003-04 to send him to the All-Star Game for the first time. Possibly more important to Tomas, though, was the chance to go to the playoffs, and the Predators earned their first trip in 2004.
Although the Predators lost in six games to the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the playoffs, they surprised many by giving the Red Wings more of a challenge than expected. In games three and four, both played in Nashville, Tomas awed spectators with his performance netting the first-ever playoff shutout in franchise history by stopping 41 Red Wing shots.
During the 2004–05 NHL lockout, Tomas played 19 regular season games for HIFK in the Finnish SM-liiga, posting a .940 save percentage. In the playoffs, he did not perform as well, posting an .846 save percentage in four games—the worst in the league in that year's playoffs.
Nevertheless, Tomas had by then emerged as one of the world's elite goaltenders. His picture was placed on the cover of Nashville's city directory, testifying to his popularity in the non-traditional hockey market. Furthermore, as a fan favorite, during home games at the Sommet Center, when he made a save, the Predators fans in attendance routinely responded with a loud chant of "VOO-KOOOON!"
On April 10, 2006, the Predators announced that Tomas was afflicted by thrombophlebitis of the pelvis, a blood-clotting condition. He missed the team's remaining regular season games and the entire playoffs while he recovered by taking blood-thinning drugs and avoiding physical activity.
Back-up goalie Chris Mason took his place as the starter, but the Predators failed to advance in the playoffs, again losing the quarterfinals.
On July 24, 2006, Tomas was cleared to resume his career and returned for the 2006–07 NHL season. However, at the beginning of the season, Tomas hurt his thumb during a game and had to have surgery. Pins were put in this thumb and he played with the pins and a brace on his thumb.
Florida Panthers (2007-2011)
On the day of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Tomas was traded to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a first-round selection in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, a second-round selection in the 2007 draft (no. 58) and a conditional second-round selection in either 2007 or 2008.
He was selected to play for the Eastern Conference team in the 2008 NHL All Star Game in Atlanta. During the 2008–09 NHL season, Vokoun recorded 26 wins for the Panthers as they battled for their first playoff berth since 2000.
Though they ultimately fell short, the Panthers' being in position to qualify was due in large part to the goaltending of Tomas and fellow goaltender Craig Anderson. On Monday November 30, 2009, Tomas was injured by teammate Keith Ballard in a game after Ballard hit him with an errant stick in the head.
Tomas was carried off the ice on a stretcher and was treated at a nearby hospital for an ear laceration. Vokoun had just given up a goal to Ilya Kovalchuk of the Atlanta Thrashers. Ballard went to break his stick on the goal post in frustration, but caught Vokoun instead.
Washington Capitals & Pittsburgh Penguins
Tomas signed a one-year contract with the Washington Capitals on July 2, 2011, for $1.5 million. He had a rough 2011–12 NHL season with the Washington Capitals, plagued by injury and inconsistent performance.
On June 4, 2012, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 7th round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and was subsequently signed to a two-year, $4 million contract. Since his customary sweater #29 was being worn by Marc-André Fleury, Tomas opted to wear #92 with the Penguins. He is the first goaltender since Daren Puppa to wear a sweater number from 1990-98.
On March 30, 2013, Tomas set a personal best and Pittsburgh Penguins individual franchise record shutout streak of 187:30. He had two consecutive shutouts (March 28 vs Winnipeg, and March 30th vs. New York Islanders), and a combined shutout with Fleury on March 26 vs Montreal.
Tomas played the third period to complete the shutout after Fleury was injured at the end of the second period. On May 9, 2013, Tomas made his first playoff start in six seasons, a 31 save shutout against the New York Islanders in game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
In the 2013-14 NHL season, Tomas became sidelined for what seems to be the entire season with a blood clot in his pelvis. In the 2005-06 NHL season, he did not get to finish the season with the Predators because he was diagnosed with pelvic thrombophlebitis a rare condition that created a multitude of blood clots.
Because of this, Jeff Zatkoff has been called up to play for the Penguins this season, behind Fleury.
|Vokoun during the 2010 Olympics|
Vokoun during the 2010 Olympics
|Men's ice hockey - Competitor for the Czech Republic
|Bronze||2006 Turin||Ice hockey
|Gold||2005 Vienna||Ice hockey|
|Gold||2010 Cologne||Ice hockey|
|Bronze||2004 World Cup||Ice hockey|
Tomas has represented the Czech Republic many times over the course of his playing career. His first international experience came with the under-20 team at the 1996 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, where the Czechs finished in 4th place.
His first senior experience came at the 2003 IIHF World Championship, where the Czechs again finished in 4th place. Overall he has played for the Czechs at four IIHF World Championships, two Winter Olympics Games and also in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.
Tomas backstopped the Czechs to a 3rd place finish at the World Cup, gold medals at the 2005 and 2010 World Championships, and won bronze with the team at the 2006 Olympics.
Regular Season Statistics
|2004–05||HC Znojemsti Orli Znojmo||Czech||27||10||14||3||0||1599||69||3||2.59||.927|
|World Championship Totals||29||23||4||1||1754||43||736||5||1.46||.942|
|Senior International Totals||46||31||12||1||2704||81||1138||6||1.80||.929|