Robin Lehner Twitter rant sparks meeting with NHL; ready to move forward in a “private manner”

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner came away from talks with the NHL and NHLPA “encouraged” following his recent accusations that teams give players medication without prescriptions.

At Golden Knights training camp Tuesday, Lehner read from a prepared statement to address the progress he felt has been made since putting out a controversial Twitter thread over the weekend.

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Robin Lehner encouraged after conversations

“The last 72 hours have been really difficult, but also incredibly valuable to me, to my career (and) my life goals,” Lehner said. “It’s not easy to do this, but I had a great talk with the NHL and the NHLPA over the last day. I’m excited for the potential change to be made to protect a younger generation. This is something I’ve been advocating for, for years, and I’m encouraged about the approach that they want to take. I’ve tried many avenues to bring some change (based) on things I’ve gone through in my career.”

Lehner’s tweet storm Saturday began when he shared an article about Jack Eichel’s standoff with the Buffalo Sabres over their different preferred treatments for his herniated disk. Lehner played with Eichel for three seasons in Buffalo.

Robin Lehner calls out NHLPA
Mar 3, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner (90) against the New Jersey Devils at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

From there, he said he would begin revealing stories he’d witnessed of how teams have mistreated NHL players. He targeted Philadelphia Flyers coach Alain Vigneault, for treating players like robots. Some believed Lehner was accusing him of handing out pills such as Ambien.

“#PhiladelphiaFlyers ? Dinosaur coach treating people robots not human,” Lehner wrote. “Fire these dinosaurs. Fire #vigneault first story. I got proof… try to shake your way out of this one.”

Vigneault denied the accusation. Lehner later went on Twitter to clarify he wasn’t insinuating the coach was giving out pills. “I can’t write well but people sure can’t read,” he explained.

Moving forward in a private manner

The league and the players association responded to Lehner’s tweets by offering to speak with him by phone.

Lehner, who has been open about his diagnosis of bipolar disorder, also wanted to see NHL teams do better treating players’ mental health in addition to their physical health.

“I’m always going to advocate for mental health, and advocate for this league,” Lehner said. “But moving forward, I’m looking to help in a more private matter. This weekend was a cry for help from this league, the league I love that has given me so much. But I’m just looking to protect the younger players. The only way to affect change, in my mind, is to do it in a non-public fashion.”

–Field Level Media