In fact, the Capitals 35-year-old goaltender admitted Wednesday hes been pretty bad for the better part of a month now.
The way Ive been playing is not good enough, he said. Its disappointing to me. I dont think Ive given up as many soft goals in the last month here as I gave up in three years (in Florida).
"Now, every shot is an adventure. Even if I do stop it I dontcontrol it well."Vokouns numbers this season are significantly below his career averages. His goals-against average this season (2.81) does not fare well against his career average (2.57) and the same can be said of his save percentage (.906 compared to .916).
Earlier this season Vokoun had trouble controlling rebounds, but lately his bigger problem has been allowing first-shot goals, something he said hes always prided himself in preventing.
I guess Im in one of those funks, he said. I just dont feel comfortable out there. Some games we win the game but its still a battle. For whatever reason I dont have the comfort level Ive had in past years and it shows. Some of those goals Id put in the terrible column. Those are tough goals on a team that is not exactly the most confident right now. Its disappointing.
Its a tough job and everybody knows it, Hunter said. Youve got to be strong-minded because it can be an up-and-down roller coaster.
Vokoun said he planned on reviewing tapes from the first two weeks of the season to see if there are areas of his game that need tweaking. He said he will not lobby to return to the net, saying it might be best for him to sit back and dissect the mistakes that are leading to soft goals.
Sometimes the best thing is to get a break and work in practice, he said. There are plenty of games left. I want to feel good and help this team win. Thats the most important thing.
If I play next game or dont is not as important to me as much as being ready and feeling good and giving guys good performances so we can win.
The key, Vokoun said, is keeping a positive attitude.
Sometimes when youre in the middle of it you feel like the world is coming down on you, he said. One game or one week later youre out of it and youre like, Oh, my God, why was I so frustrated?
Vokoun acknowledged that being away from his wife and two daughters for the first time in his career has taken a toll on him personally, saying its easier to take his mind off the game when he goes home to his family than when he returns to an apartment by himself.
Thats my problem, he said. Im paid to do a job and Im a professional.
He said he is certain hell return to a level that made the Capitals want to sign him as their No. 1 goaltender.
If I need to do it a thousand times in a practice Ill do it a thousand times, he said. ... Im trying to figure it out and I will.