(Note: On account of travel, Empty Netter Assists will be late today.)
Prior to last night's meltdown of a 6-4 loss to the Islanders in Game 4, the idea of the Penguins turning to their backup goaltender was outlandish, especially considering they had a 2-1 series lead.
One game and six goals later, the potential for Tomas Vokoun to start Game 5 seems very realistic and in many ways, necessary. Dan Bylsma even entertained a question about the possibility after last night's game.
Thursday, Vokoun talked about his role as the team's backup and what changes with those duties during the postseason compared to the regular season.
In the regular season, your starts are planned several days in advance. Does anything change for you as a backup without any starts scheduled, potentially for two months?
"Nothing changes. You prepare for every game like you would play because you just never know, you know? Something could happen and you got to go in. Nothing really changes for me."
So you do your normal pre-scout activities for each and every opponent?
"Everything. I do everything just like I would be playing. I’m prepared to play. Nothing really changes that much for me."
What's different for you on a game day when you know you will start?
"Obviously you’re thinking about it more when you know you’re playing. You don’t have the anticipation. That’s normal for everybody. For me, I prepare pretty close to the same if I play or don’t."
Do you take extra shots or work on extra drills in practice in order to stay sharp in the postseason?
"You have to. That’s the key. To say in good shape and doing some work and keeping your game sharp. I’m old enough and I know what’s at stake and I know how quickly things can change in hockey. (Thursday), being an hour and 10 minutes on the ice doing extra stuff, getting a lot of shots and working hard. If you’re a professional, you’re asked to that every day so there’s really no change to it at all."
Just prior to Game 1, you had a little meeting with Marc-Andre Fleury on the ice. What did you say to him?
"I just wished him luck. Play his game and enjoy it and have fun. Just a normal greeting before a game. No matter who you are or how long you play, you get nervous, especially for the first game of the playoffs. Wished him luck and to play his game and not worry about anything."
(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)