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  1. NOVA STEELERS
    Twisted

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    WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Penguins goaltender Tomas Vokoun spent some time Thursday at Consol Energy Center and, according to his agent, will begin light workouts next week.

    That's a far more upbeat update than one that appeared in an online Czech report Friday, one that -- according to a Google translation -- quoted Vokoun as saying he was concerned last weekend about surviving a blood clot problem and might be forced to retire from hockey.

    "He is emphatic in saying that he fully intends on coming back and has not contemplated ending his career," Vokoun's agent, Allan Walsh, said by email.

    Vokoun did not travel with the team to the U.S. Military Academy for practices and team-bonding exercises Friday, today and Sunday.

    Last Saturday, Vokoun, 37, was pulled from practice because of swelling in his leg and taken to a hospital. He underwent a procedure to dissolve a blood clot in his pelvis.

    Walsh said the report, in Czech newspaper MF Dnes, "was not entirely accurate" and that "whenever anyone has a blood clot discovered and needs an emergency procedure to remove it, one feels 'lucky' to be alive."

    Penguins coach Dan Bylsma agreed that anyone who faced such a medical situation would be concerned and, in fact, Bylsma himself felt that way.

    "Speaking for myself and only myself, when Tomas left the ice and I heard he was on the way to the hospital, you get concerned for a lot of reasons," Bylsma said. "You go through different emotions when you hear he's going to be going through surgery.

    "Those are things I thought, I felt when he left the ice and what he went through that day.

    "But the other [report] is speculation as far as I know at this point."

    Vokoun was released from the hospital earlier in the week. He has been ruled out for Thursday's season opener against New Jersey at Consol Energy Center, and apparently there has been no other determination about his status.

    "We don't really have anything else on him," Bylsma said. "We're still in the time period where we're evaluating from his surgeries and some of the tests and what he's going through right now."

    It is believed that whether, and for how long, Vokoun will be on blood thinners will in part determine how long he will be out.

    Three sit out

    Defensemen Brooks Orpik and Derrick Pouliot and winger Matt D'Agostini did not practice, although D'Agostini (undisclosed injury) skated in warmups.

    Orpik, who missed the third period of Thursday's preseason finale at Detroit, is on the trip but remains day to day because of an undisclosed injury, Bylsma said.

    Pouliot was simply a victim of numbers. With just one practice group now, the club wants to keep its number of defensemen to a manageable eight, and Pouliot was the odd man out.

    Tip-ins

    Defenseman Paul Martin returned and practiced after a short leave to return home to Minnesota for personal reasons. ... Winger Harry Zolnierczyk cleared waivers, meaning he can report to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League. ... A crowd of approximately 200 watched practice, which was open to the public. ... The Penguins will practice at 10 a.m. today and Sunday, with both sessions also open to the public.
     

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