NHL News: League rebuffs Lehner’s comments, Mikko Rantanen added to COVID protocol, and Elias Pettersson could still return this season

robin lehner
Mar 27, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner (90) prior to the game against the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL has quickly responded to the assertions made by Robin Lehner earlier today. Vegas’ goaltender was upset and claimed the league reneged on a promise to ease restrictions after taking the vaccine. “The problem (of mental health) is going to be huge, but being lied to about things changing to kinda force us to take the vaccine – unacceptable,” he lamented.

Lehner was most upset with the league’s reasons why. “Now that we have taken the vaccine – to use the excuse of saying, ‘Nah, we’re not changing’ because of competitive advantage? It’s outrageous.” This led to Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly’s being pressed to respond.

“I respect Robin’s views and feelings. It’s a tough situation,” Daly wrote in an email to David Schoen. “Having said that, I reject the assertion that any promises were ever made on Protocol changes related to Player vaccination.”

Mikko Rantanen added to COVID protocol

The Colorado Avalanche’s leading goal scorer will be out a little longer as he was just added to the NHL’s COVID list yesterday. They are scheduled to return to play on tomorrow against the St. Louis Blues.

Elias Pettersson may not be done for the season

elias pettersson
Elias Pettersson (USATSI)

“He’s on the ice skating now, he’s going to continue to rehab, but we don’t have a timeline yet as to when he’s going to be back, if he’s going to be back at all,” Benning said last week via NHL.com. “I was hopeful that maybe he could come back, but after the visit (to a specialist) on Wednesday, he’s going to be a little bit longer yet.”

There were some whispers around hockey circles that the Canucks and Pettersson may agree to shut it down for the season. Now it seem there’s a different tune being sung according to Elliotte Friedman.

Another thing to watch with the Canucks: They have not given up on an Elias Pettersson return. GM Jim Benning said last week there was a setback, but the hope and goal is he will play again this season.

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