As a goalkeeper, Robin Lehner is used to being shot at, but on Saturday night he was the one who fell out as the Golden Knights goalkeeper accused Flyers coach Alain Vigneault of… well it’s not quite clear but the implication was pushing drugs on players.
In a three-tweet threadLehner asked whether it is “common practice in workplaces to hand out benzodiazepines to employees when they travel and are in the area?” Shouldn’t that be done by doctors or psychiatrists?” Lehner said this wasn’t about his current team in Vegas, but that “I know a lot of other teams. I have also been in teams that do?”
Lehner went on to say that the Flyers have a “dinosaur coach who treats humans robots, not humans”, calling for Vigneault’s resignation, saying, “I have evidence…try your way out of this… “
Vigneault has never coached any of Lehner’s teams, but it’s clear that a longtime NHL coach and goalkeeper who has been in the league since 2010 has many mutual players, including the new Golden Knights center Nolan Patrick. a designerr No. 1 choice of Flyers. It’s not clear what’s going on between Vigneault and Lehner, but this isn’t the first time the netminder has made it clear that he doesn’t hold the Philadelphia coach in high regard. In August, Lehner blamed Vigneault for hindering the development of Flyers goalkeeper Carter Hart.
What is clear is that Lehner has had enough from what he sees as sloppy treatment of hockey players, to doing anything to keep them on the ice, at the expense of long-term health. In particular, Lehner has tweeted a lot in recent days about Jack Eichel, stripped of the Buffalo Sabers captaincy, who doesn’t want him to artificial disc replacement surgery.
Lehner, two-time Jennings Trophy winner and 2019 Masterton Trophy winner after returning from rehab, has been open about his struggle with his addiction. He also got some reinforcements from a prominent agent on Saturday night Allan Walsh, best known in Lehner’s career for when he tweeted picture of his client, Marc-Andre Fleury, holding a sword in his back after Lehner ousted Fleury as the Golden Knights starter. Former NHL enforcer Daniel Carcillo also sounded, as he has for years, in another Twitter thread.
Obviously this is bigger than just the people involved, and any light that can shine on hockey’s problems with painkillers and other substances is a good and welcome thing. The sport has already lost too many men, too young, especially Derek Boogaard by an accidental mix of painkillers and alcohol in 2011, as well as others who became addicted during their playing days while sacrificing their bodies to the game.