It was an intense weekend for Robin Lehner. The Vegas Golden Knights goalie fired off tweets on Saturday about players’ health and medical treatment. He accused teams of giving out benzodiazepines and Ambien to employees when they travel. Lehner clarified that the Knights were not one of the teams he was referencing. In a follow-up tweet, Lehner referred to Flyers coach Alain Vigneault as a “dinosaur” who treated people like “robots not human” and claimed he had proof Vigneault should be fired.
This caught the NHL’s attention, who interviewed Lehner about his allegations as the league officials and NHLPA spoke to the veteran netminder. On Tuesday, Lehner met with media members ahed of the Golden Knights’ preseason game against the Colorado Avalanche and made the following statement on what has taken place over the past three days, explaining how his tweets over the weekend were a “cry for help” from the NHL and that he will always advocate for mental health.
“The last 72 hours have been incredibly difficult but also incredibly valuable to me, to my career, my life goals,” Lehner said Tuesday.
In a two-minute opening statement, Lehner claimed he has received positive feedback from the NHL and NHLPA and is hoping to continue making a difference for the better of the younger generations and the ones to come in the league. He will now be moving his message behind the scenes with the NHL and NHLPA to find better ways to help other players.
But what has been the impact of his cry for help in his team’s dressing room? Insider Jesse Granger for The Athletic asked the hard question, though Lehner appears to have his club’s full support.
“Any of the thoughts that he has on players, and the treatment of players, those types of things that he spoke to recently, those are all coming from the right place,” GM Kelly McCrimmon said. “They’re coming from his heart. He genuinely cares. That’s Robin Lehner. I think you guys have been around him enough to know who he is and what he’s about.”
“Obviously Robin is a big advocate for mental health, and I support him for sure in what he says,” Alex Pietrangelo said. “It’s impressive to watch how much he cares about what he believes in. I’m proud of him. … It’s not easy to say that and be honest about it.”
Let’s hope everyone in the Golden Knights’ dressing room feels the same as Pietrangelo as the season is not even underway. But they sure know where Lehner stands, he who is the first speaking out while still playing in the NHL.
“I don’t want to cause a distraction for my team that’s going for the Stanley Cup,” Lehner said. “This is a huge issue for me. Lives matter more than the Cup for me.”
I can only agree with that, but will his teammates feel the same way as they look to hoist the precious trophy?