A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Preds dealt huge blow -- Vokoun done for the season.

On Monday, the Nashville Predators got some very bad news. Goaltender Thomas Vokoun has been diagnosed with blood clots and will be required to miss the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs.

The specific diagnosis is "pelvic thrombophlebitis", which is exceptionally rare in men. It is an inflammation of a vein in the pelvis, resulting from a clot (thrombus). It is most commonly associated with giving childbirth, or other obstetric issues.

Vokoun was diagnosed with "sore back" on April 1, and has not played since. Further exams found the clots. Traditionally, this is treated with blood-thinning agents , which pretty much preclude physical exertion. For the time being, he is hospitalized, but he'll be released in a couple of days. He'll be on blood-thinning medication for weeks or even months, and is expected to make a full recovery. Although he is in stable condition, the clots were referred to as "life threatening".

Vokoun has been a rock for Nashville this season, posting a 36-18-7 record with a goals against average of 2.67 and a save percentage of .919. In most statistical categories, he is among the top ten in the league. He has been a major reason for the Preds success this season, and will be sorely missed.

Vokoun's backup, Chris Mason isn't a slouch, but he's been used sparingly this season, and there is some doubt as to whether he can carry the load. On the bright side, he's won his last two games, giving up a total of one goal. However, he only faced a grand total of 42 shots, and said games were against the worst two teams in the West (Chicago and St. Louis).

This development is the cause of much concern as the Preds head into the playoffs, where they are likely to face Anaheim in the first round. In the season series, the Ducks are leading 3-0-1. Mason appeared in one of those games, relieving Vokoun in the third period on March 24 in a 6-3 loss. He surrendered one goal on nine shots.

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