Fighting for playing time at the NHL level isn't anything new to Jeff Zatkoff.
While with the Kings organization, Zatkoff was stuck behind Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick and first-rounder Jonathan Bernier. After joining the Penguins in the 2012 offseason, Zatkoff was decidedly third on the depth chart behind all-stars Marc-Andre Fleury and Tomas Vokoun.
Things were expected to be status quo for Zatkoff until Tomas Vokoun was stricken with a blood clot during the preseason. As a result, Zatkoff became the team's No. 2 goaltender.
In the five months since that promotion, Zatkoff has appeared in 12 games, and earned a 9-2-1 record along with a 2.64 goals against average, .909 save percentage and one shutout. Additionally, he signed a two-year contract extension though the 2015-16 season.
Within the past week, Vokoun has been cleared to play and is working himself back into game-shape in order to reclaim the No. 2 job behind Fleury. While several members of the team are still returning from the Olympics in Sochi, all three goaltenders have been working out in Pittsburgh. During a four-on-four drill today at Consol Energy Center, all three rotated in and out of net.
Recently, Zatkoff talked about his status with the team:
Have you given thought about what Vokoun's potential return could mean to your status?
"Yeah. I’m not trying to think too far ahead. Obviously, Tomas is a great goalie. He’s played in the league for 17 years. He’s an NHL goalie. I’m just trying to go about my business and work hard every day and control what I can control."
What is your confidence as an NHLer like right now compared to the preseason?
"I think it’s night and day difference. Once you get those games under your belt … every game is a little more experience. I’ve felt more comfortable every game just with different situations that arise. From training camp to now, I don’t think it’s comparable. It’s nice to get that first one out of the way and get some games and try to improve on every start."
Have you kept it mind at all this season that Vokoun could return at some point this season and reclaim the No. 2 role?
"Yeah. I’ve tried not to look that far in advance. Everyone kind of knew the situation at the start. I was just trying to worry about my game and playing hard improving myself and competing and giving the team a chance to win when I was in there. Nothing changes for me even though he’s back skating. I’ve still got the same role, the same job right now."
If the team wanted to assign you to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, it would risk losing you through waivers. Is it at all reassuring in that waivers could deter management attempting to send you back to the AHL?
"I think waivers can obviously help in your advantage. Obviously, I don’t want to go on. I like it here in the city of Pittsburgh. Love the organization. I signed because I want to be here and stay in this organization. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen."
Have you ever been on a team where there were three active goaltenders?
"I have not. Obviously, in college you carry three goalies but it’s a different situation where on is there [specifically] to practice. I was the third goaltender when I went to Europe [for season-opening games with the Kings in 2011-12] but other than that, no."
Has your time in practice been limited with Vokoun working his way back?
"Yeah, but I don’t think it’s just mine. If you look, we have a three-way rotation. We’re trying to get three nets out there to start, at least to get everyone warm. We’re just trying to rotate evenly and see pucks. Anytime you have three goalies and two nets, you’re shots are going to be less. When you’re in the net, it makes your time that much more valuable. When there’s three guys, there’s only two nets. Someone is going to be sitting out."
(Photo: Vokoun-Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press; Vokoun-Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Can you sense it? Oscars excitement is in the air!
With the awards show just a few days away on March 2, Stylebook is counting down all this week with daily blog posts about the stars and trends we hope to see on the red carpet (and the styles that should be left at home). Stay tuned!
Today, we salute the ladies we anticipate will be the night's style standouts based on their fashion picks at past awards shows.
In no particular order, here are five women to watch on the red carpet:
She's fashion's new *IT* girl. Vogue named the "12 Years a Slave" actress one of the rising style stars to watch. Plus, she was spotted making the rounds earlier this month at New York Fashion Week (even sitting next to Vogue editor Anna Wintour at Calvin Klein's runway show). So far, she's impressed in vibrantly colored gowns with minimal embellishments by such designers as Gucci (pictured below), Ralph Lauren and Dior.
She's showed off several iterations of elegance this awards season, from the black lace-and-sheer J. Mendel gown at the Golden Globes to the softer blush halter-style dress by Givenchy (pictured below).
We haven't seen much of this style star this awards season, but she will be a presenter at the Academy Awards. Will she pull out a Hollywood glam look like the white Versace gown with the swipe of scarlet across the collar from the 2012 Golden Globes (pictured below)? Or will she bring sexy back with her signature skirt slit and show some leg?
Being the face of Dior, it's a done deal that J-Law will be wearing something couture from the French fashion house. She's tends to stick with full silhouettes, such as the pale strapless look from last year's Oscars (pictured below). In January her white Golden Globes gown inspired a meme where people started comparing the dress to Disney characters or snapping photos of themselves wearing white blankets held on with black bands or cords. It would be fun to see her try something a bit different, such as a column dress with a pop of color.
Like Ms. Jolie, Anne Hathaway's red carpet style made a splash last awards season but has been largely out of the spotlight this year. But she will be making an appearance as a presenter at the Academy Awards. At last year's Oscars, she opted for soft sophistication in a powder pink silk Prada gown (pictured below).
Who are you excited to see? Tweet your thoughts and fashion predictions to @SaraB_PG! (Photos courtesy of Associated Press)
Panic! At The Disco plus special guests WALK THE MOON & Magic Man are coming to Stage AE on August 1. Tickets go on sale Friday at all Ticketmaster outlets.
Citi cardmembers will have access to presale tickets to select dates through Citi’s Private Pass Program beginning on Wednesday, February 26 at 8:00 a.m. local time. For complete presale details visit www.citiprivatepass.com. And beginning today, fans can visit http://bit.ly/PanicRSVP to RSVP for early access to presale tickets available starting at 10:00 a.m. local time on Wednesday, February 26.
JaJuan Seider had a highly successful debut as West Virginia running backs coach last season. Seider, a former Mountaineer quarterback, returned to Morgantown in March and inherited starting tailback Andrew Buie, junior-college transfer Dreamius Smith and a few other options. In June, he added graduate transfer Charles Sims to the stable of backs.
Buie spent the season back home in Florida, while Sims headlined a three-headed rushing attack alongside Smith and freshman Wendell Smallwood. Sims picked up the heavy bulk of the carries as the season wore on, and he finished with 14 total touchdowns and 1,095 rushing yards, becoming the first West Virginia back since Noel Devine to surpass the 1,000-yard rushing mark.
Now, with Sims off to the NFL, Seider adds Pitt transfer Rushel Shell into the fold — and Buie returns — for spring practice, which begins Sunday.
"Every day is a competition,” Seider said. “That's the most important thing. We're always talking about competitive excellence. When your number is called, who's going to make a play? That's the whole mantra of spring: Who's going to make that play?”
At the team’s spring football luncheon Friday, Seider shared his thoughts on a number of players and topics, which you’ll find segmented below.