Predators hoping for September return for Vokoun

Updated: May 3, 2006, 8:17 PM ET
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Nashville Predators are optimistic goalie Tomas Vokoun will be ready to play when they open training camp in September.

Nashville Predators

61 36 18 0 .919 2.67

Vokoun's season was ended last month when he was diagnosed with pelvic thrombophlebitis, a rare blood condition that had caused a multitude of blood clots in his abdomen. Doctors said at the time they didn't know what had caused the clots.

General manager David Poile said Wednesday that Vokoun still is undergoing tests.

"Tomas might've talked to more doctors than you and I have talked to in our lives. He's getting lots of input and he's had lots of tests," Poile said.

Poile said Vokoun has met with two vascular surgeons with more visits likely ahead for more opinions, and he's been on blood thinners for about a month.

"I would hope and think after some of these tests come back we would get a little bit more acceptable timetable," Poile said. "I'm pretty optimistic based on what I've been told that he should be ready to go [in September]."

Vokoun was the Predators' most valuable player this season, winning a career-best 36 games and a playing a big part of a penalty-killing unit that tied for fifth in the NHL despite giving up 533 power plays.

His health could affect how hard the Predators work to sign backup Chris Mason, who set a franchise shutout record of 143 minutes after taking over for Vokoun. He becomes a free agent July 1.

Also, forward David Legwand will have surgery on his left knee next week. He had arthroscopic surgery on the knee in December and missed 32 games but returned and played through the postseason.

Legwand is a restricted free agent whose return from surgery could limit interest in him.

"We'll find a way to keep them if we want them and they want to be here," Poile said. "You're just going to have to get more things done on a year-by-year basis rather than signing a lot of longer-term deals."

The Predators lost to San Jose in five games in the first round of the playoffs.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press