It was reported by multiple reliable sources on Friday that Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner was to have season-ending surgery due to an injury he has been nursing since early March.
His head coach, Pete DeBoer denied those claims and it looks like we now know why via Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman on Hockey Night in Canada.
— Lindsay 🌸 (@LindsMAF29) April 24, 2022
This is the best I can piece together. I think what’s happened is Lehner, who is playing hurt, was upset at some of the criticism he was receiving and also being pulled the other night (against the Capitals). I believe he informed the Golden Knights on Thursday night that he was going to have surgery and shut it down. I think in the last 24-to-48 hours, there have been conversations between Lehner, the team, his agents, and just everybody involved trying to see if there was a solution to all of this that would have him in the lineup. I guess we’re going to find out tomorrow night and we’ll see for sure where all this is going but that’s the best information that I can piece together for you today.
Lehner was pulled against the Caps after allowing just one goal on 13 shots in the first period. When asked why the Swedish netminder was pulled, Deboer gave a bit of a confusing, meandering answer.
“The decision to start him, we pay him to start games like this,” he remarked. “It’s the most important time of the year. He’s healthy, he’s fresh. He’s got a lot of energy and we need him at this point. So, I think after the New Jersey game, I felt like I wanted to give him the opportunity to bounce back and have a big game for us. The decision to change, I thought I really liked our start. We gave up that first goal and I felt like we looked like we were rattled as a team the rest of the period. It was just to try and switch some momentum, reset ourselves, and get ready for the rest of the game.”
DeBoer has been highly critical of Lehner recently, who by all reports is playing through a severe lower-body/likely knee injury.
Pete DeBoer on Robin Lehner tonight- “This time of year you’re looking for your guy to be better than the guy at the other end. That wasn’t the case.”
— Jesse Granger (@JesseGranger_) April 19, 2022
The Golden Knights play the San Jose Sharks at home Sunday and it is not yet known if Lehner will either start or be on the bench as Logan Thompson’s backup. He did not dress for their practice Saturday although DeBoer told the media he was expected to be on the ice. DeBoer declined to comment on the situation further after the aforementioned practice, instead directing reporters to this team statement.
Robin Lehner will not be on the ice today for practice as he takes an additional maintenance day. We are hopeful that he will be available for Sunday night’s game.
Vegas remains four points out of the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference and five points out of third place in the Pacific Division.
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