One thing is certain about Robin Lehner. When he has something to say, he’s going to say it, whether you like it or not.
The NHL may not like it, but it is listening and the league apparently would like to hear more from Lehner regarding what he has said the last few days.
The Vegas Golden Knights’ starting goaltender, who is bipolar and is a staunch advocate for addressing mental health issues, has had an active week with his words. It started Monday when he was a guest on the Spittin’ Chiclets Podcast. Among a variety of topics, he spoke out about the Buffalo Sabres’ treatment of their captain, Jack Eichel, who wold prefer to have a different form of surgery on his neck than the one the team’s doctors have prescribed.
Friday, Lehner gave a sneak preview of another podcast he was a going to be a guest on — The Volume Sports — and he ripped the NHL Players association for not having Eichel’s back in his situation in Buffalo. That podcast will air on Tuesday.
Saturday, Lehner took to Twitter and continued his putting the NHLPA on blast. He also questioned some of the NHL’s medical practices. In one of a series of tweets on his account, Lehner said: “Is it common for work places to give out benzodiazepines to employees when they travel and ambien? Should that not be done by doctors or psychiatrist? Asking for a friend this doesn’t happen in Vegas to be clear. But I know many other teams. I also been in on teams that do?”
It’s a serious charge and Lehner did not name names of doctors or teams guilty of such alleged practices. But he has ripped the Sabres for the way they treated an ankle injury he suffered.
In a separate tweet, Lehner said of the Sabres: “They screwed my ankle… big time. Then surgery and then pills… no care…almost died. But ehh.. after forcing leg press after few weeks after bad high ankle sprain first game. That is foot after treatment.. later is my soul gone after a month after surgery. It’s not all pretty”
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the NHL is interested in talking to Lehner about his comments and will reach out to meet. It is not a disciplinary meeting. So far, the team has not made any kind of public response to Lehner’s remarks. If and when it does, it’ll be interesting to see how they react to Lehner putting the NHL on blast. There hasn’t been any comment from his VGK teammates either.
The Golden Knights have never had a player use social media as often as Lehner does. He has over 113,000 followers on Twitter. The closest a Golden Knight has come in terms of using Twitter prior to Lehner was Ryan Reaves, who was using social media to help market his brewing enterprise. But Reaves also has large Twitter following — more than 86,000 — and like Lehner, he’ll use it to get his message out in the public.
One former NHLer, Daniel Carcillo, went on Twitter to defend Lehner and Eichel.
“1) Happy to see some current @NHL players sticking up for themselves @NHLPA where you at? @RobinLehner & @jackeichel’s treatment by the @BuffaloSabres is in no way an isolated incident. I’m sure you could dig up thousands of stories just like it. Some are worse…..”
Lehner wanted to make it clear he has no beef with his current team. He just wishes the league would take more responsibility in the health of its players.
In another Tweet Saturday, Lehner said: “I’m 100% an nhl fan. Love hockey and want the nhl to be great. I’m not trying to destroy anything. but do what’s right. It’s time to walk away from the old ways and in to the new. Things have to change. I talk way to much and I still have 90 % filter on. Don’t make me take it away”
And one last Tweet from Lehner:
“I’ve made crazy amount of mistakes. But lying about what I’ve seen for 12 years not one of them. I don’t care what they say I don’t lie about these things. true. I’ll keep going. Have stored stories for a year. Watch now when nhl will try cancel me. God luck whatever lie you.”
Lehner last played Thursday and was injured in the Golden Knights’ 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings in Salt Lake City. He said in response to a Tweet from a follower “I’m fine.” Obviously, this is a story that will continued to be followed in the days ahead.