December 16, 2014

Tomas Vokoun Quits Due To Blood Clots

Goalie Tomas Vokoun has been forced to retire due to blood clots.

“It’s final. There’s no reason to wait,” he conceded in telling a Czech newspaper Sport on Monday.

"I think I had a career I can be proud of," he added.

Vokoun last played in the NHL for the Pittsburgh Penguins during the playoffs in 2013 before the blood clots were discovered. He attempted a brief comeback attempt in April 2014 in the minor leagues, but could not find a contract for the 2014-15 season due to worries about his health.

Vokoun was also diagnosed with blood clots back in 2008 but that was treated with blood thinners with little interruption to his hockey career.

Aside from Dominik Hasek, Tomas Vokoun is the most success Czech goalie in NHL history. He won over 300 games in his 700 game career over 15 seasons, most notably spent with Nashville but also with Florida, Washington and Pittsburgh.

Vokoun starred in Nashville, where Barry Trotz's defensive system enabled the goalie to thrive. He overcame a 2002 diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that threatened to ruin his career and by 2003 he backstopped the Predators to the franchise's first playoff appearance.

But ultimately success was hard to come by while starting for anonymous teams. He will not go down as the best goaltender of his generation, but he should be recognized as one of the more underrated goalies of all time. It would have been interesting to see what he could have done with a true contender.

Vokoun was decorated internationally. He was in net for the Czechs when they won the World Championships in 2005 and 2010. He also represented his country at two more World Championships as well as the 2006 and 2010 Olympic Winter Games, and in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.

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