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Lehner’s Plan For Season Ending Surgery Another VGK Communication Breakdown

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Coach Pete DeBoer had time to reflect on Wednesday’s season saving comeback win against Washington. His team controlled the puck overtime and in a matter of minutes Vegas remained in a playoff hunt. Also, with yesterday’s day off the Golden Knights head coach was able to further internalize his controversial but successful goalie change in a 1-1 tie.

The decision to start him, we pay him to start games like this. It’s the most important time of the year. He’s healthy he’s fresh he’s got a lot of energy. We need him at this point of the year. After that NJ game I felt like I wanted to give him the opportunity to bounce back. -Pete DeBoer, 04/20

After Wednesday’s victory the head coach answered questions about why he decided to start Robin Lehner in net. DeBoer explained that the higher paid goaltender should get the nod in big games. 20 minutes into the game he clearly felt differently. The veteran coach also emphasized that Lehner was not injured and that the goalie was rested.

He’s healthy he’s fresh he’s got a lot of energy.-Pete DeBoer, 04/20

But the latest information refutes DeBoer’s claim. ESPN’s Emily Kaplan and The Athletic’s Jesse Granger both reported that Lehner will undergo season ending surgery.

Normally, these type of conflicting reports are further cleared up by the organization. That is if, they had the same information about Lehner’s health. However, today after Golden Knights practice things got weird.

It was a maintenance day today. I expect him at practice tomorrow and I expect him dressed on Sunday. -DeBoer, today

Obviously there was some serious lack of communication if Vegas’ head coach was unaware of Lehner’s extensive damage to his knee that warranted season ending surgery. In fact, DeBoer assumed his goaltender would be in uniform and available to play if needed against the Sharks on Sunday.

Listen, we’re 82 games into the season, nobody’s healthy. I mean, everybody’s got something. There’s nothing physically that is a play issue in my conversations with anybody. -DeBoer, today

It’s hard not to speculate what occurred on Wednesday night after Lehner was pulled in the 1st intermission the comments his coach made about his performance against the Devils.

They put him in such a huge game and he lets in one not great goal. Just one and then they pull him after the 1sr period. What is going on there? It just seems interesting whatever the dynamic is there. –Mike Johnson, TSN Analyst & Former NHL’er

It does bare the question, why did DeBoer want the fanbase to know Lehner was healthy and fresh? Is it because he wants the fans to know that injures aren’t the reason behind the goalie’s inconsistency? Or was DeBoer completely on the outside of Lehner’s season ending surgery? For most, it’s incomprehensible how a head coach of a professional hockey was unaware of his starting goaltenders health status.

Even before today’s messy message, it was apparent DeBoer trusts Thompson right now. Clearly, to win these next four desperate, playoff type games Lehner is no longer his first choice, nor is he an available option so it seems. The decision to not start Thompson against the Capitals is puzzling and there’s no way to believe we have the entire story at this point.

All that matters right now though is winning four games in a row. It’ll be shame if this latest developments impact the Golden Knights’ ability to do that.

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78 Comments

  1. Jeffrey

    Deboer and McKrimmon should get run out of town on a rail for starting Lehner vs. NJ despite his needing knee surgery in a feeble attempt to justify their running Fleury out of town.

  2. All of this leads me to believe that one or several of Vegas coaches or senior management team will be gone, shortly.

    Obviously Thompson could lead Vegas to the Cup!

    Our current goalie options – The Misfit Line

    (My guess would be, Lehner got pulled, the coaches and the players have been disappointed in his play and attitude and Lehner said, F-it, and declared he was getting surgery)

  3. James Scouten

    Score might have been 1-1, but he let 2 in the net, and both were suspect. Given the need to win, I think we all saw all we needed to see in that 1st period to warrent the goalie change. I agreed with letting Lehner start and I agree with pulling him after the 1st.

    That all being said, VGK always tries to be so tight lipped that miscommunication like this is going to happen….. this isn’t the first time, but it is probably the highest profile time.

    • James, this and the Fleury debacle. ( which was a MASSIVE FAIL, in my view) I think most teams try to keep adverse news under wraps, as you said Vgk do, with regularity. The injury and trade mysteries are the most glaring…

      • I think Foley was pressured by both McCrimmon and PDB to get rid of Fleury. I mean, at the time it was hard to argue based on the $2 million more in CAP. There was no way they were going to retain $12 million in salary CAP for goaltending. I think Foley initially pushed back, but then eventually caved to the front office pressure.

        I can imagine that Foley had discussions with MAF that no one knows about regarding the decision since it was he and not McCrimmon who made the commitment to him.

        Could Foley repair the damage and bring Fleury back? The Fleury-Haters won’t like it, but you know that a move like that would pack the house big time. A Fleury/Thompson goaltending duo is something I had envisioned a year ago.

        Will it happen?

        Possibly a deal for another veteran goaltender, or even fire DeBoer and keep Lehner is possible. I don’t see PDB and Lehner being able to move forward together after this.

        Likely NOT.

        • RR, definitely was a cap Mess re: MAF. We seem to have more Cap issues than other teams. Mgmt bites off more than they can chew, then has to shed contracts– doesn’t seem like good business, but guess it’s HOCKEY business. MAF’s agent blew it, for sure( wonder if he has the same agent?). Would love to see him back, but that’s just NOT feasible, ( as you said) unless mgmt/ coach changes are made. Too much bad blood now. But what a duo MAF and LT would be!!

          • Just a sidenote: I was @ practice today (Friday), and Carrier practiced. He looks fine, no injury issue. Good to see him ready to play–he very well could have been held on IR due to Cap issues( again)… HOPE he plays this weekend…

          • In hindsight, did they have to offer 5 years and $5 million to Robin? Or could they offered less on a 2 year deal to evaluate? We will never know. But, the answer is clear now.

        • Vegas wasn’t going to win a Cup with Fleury, and the roster that flopped in the playoffs.

          A decision – AKA Gamble – was made to free cap space, sign a younger goalie and try to get Eichel. I liked the move at the time and still do. It was a big risk making the move for Eichel knowing that his contributions might be minimal this year given the injury. The cascade of injuries only made matters worse as Eichel was playing on a team with AHL talent up and down the lineup.

          Trying to win isn’t easy. Something needed to change.

          I would move away from Lehner, bring in some young scoring talent like Brisson to match up with Eichel and play the young “Misfit” goaltenders in the system.

          • Frank

            You’re one of the few that actually liked the move for Lehner…. Other salary could have been shed for eichel…. Fleury should still be here.

          • Not only should Fleury been kept, but Schmidt and Reaves as well.

            Not moving Smith before the trade deadline could also be viewed as a front office mistake – unless he signs for less money to stay in Vegas.

            The offseason should be interesting to see what unfolds.

        • Jack

          Foley wouldn’t have needed to be pressured – nobody was interested at the time in taking on a contract with 4 years remaining. Fleury’s contract having only 1 year left was the deciding factor in who got traded.

          • If they had wanted to retain Fleury they could have figured out a way to do it. $2 million in cap. They didn’t. They chose the “Broken One” and now have to live with that dead contract on their hands as well.

  4. The drama on this team continues unabated, only now it is beginning to spin out of control as the messages are convoluted, inconsistent and just unprofessional.

    I’ve been saying this for a long time. This team hasn’t been “right” since the steering wheel was handed over to McCrimmon. It’s just one nightmare after another with that guy.

    One thing is for certain, Foley isn’t going to put up with this nonsense for too long. One, two or all three are going to be sent packing at some point.

    • RR – just an observation after listening to PDB today after practice. I am not a supporter of PDB, but I am the team – that said this latest Lehner situation regardless of who is at fault has put PDB between a rock and a hard place. Kelly should step out and answer about what’s going on, of course that won’t happen as he doesn’t know what truth is. Watching PDB answer the questions today it was obvious he had to be very careful how he answered, if he had balls he should have just told everyone to ask Kelly he’s the GM regarding personnel matters as I don’t have the answer and only coach what is given to me Either way he is in deep shit, he is either outright lying about what he knows or doesn’t know or is being the good soldier for the organization while at the same time protecting his ass. He has been fired before and could very well hear the footsteps coming again. Both he and Lehner need to go along with a few others from the FO. I can’t imagine any GM wanting to do business with these guys who appear to lie just for the sake of lying – kind of make you wonder if they even know what truth is.

  5. knights fan in minny

    fluery thompson tandem next year foleys dream think about it

    • THG will have a meltdown if Fleury is brought back to Vegas.

      Could happen. I think he is on a rental contract now and his $7 expires the end of this season. For that to happen McCrimmon and PDB will have to be sent packing, possibly McPhee too if he was involved.

      • knights fan in minny

        he said he wants one more year i guess it would depend on what happens here in minny he would have to take a discount i would guess flower really does not need the money if this happened t mobile would go nuts

        • Minny

          I would like to see MAF back here but I imagine he very happy playing for Minny and I don’t doubt he is close with Billy Guerin. I personally would like to see Billy Guerin also in Vegas.

          • Stephanie

            Minny has a salary cap issue too… I would be surprised to see them pay big money to keep Fleury but lose Fiala

          • knights fan in minny

            minny has to get younger in goal they gave up a pretty good young goalie

          • knights fan in minny

            the talk is dumba or fiala i say dumba how much does flower love vegas does he still have a home there

          • knights fan in minny

            what i have heard the wives are good friends if that counts for anything

      • THE hockey GOD

        RR the only way MAF , the farce comes back, is if there are major FO changes. And that is not going to happen.

        More rumors, what are odds that RL shows up for practice today ?

    • Frank

      This would have been the goalie tandem had Lehner never been signed. Would have saved $5 mil and a whole lot of drama……………..

      • knights fan in minny

        gut feeling it will happen foley wants the glory back at t mobile

    • I SECOND THAT, MINNY!!

    • VGK fan in Summerlin

      A lot of us would love to see that happen, but no way Fleury would agree to come back to the management that betrayed him for no reason. In fact they betrayed in spite of his high level play. Fire the McManagers and maybe he would think about coming back, until then why would he trust the organization.

      Oh wait, and you’d have to add Foley in there as someone who betrayed as he signed off on it. Don’t forget he was the one that told MAF to his face he would retire a Knight…then stabbed him in the back.

      Just don’t see Fleury coming back because of these betrayals. They burned that bridge, then blew it up, then trampled it til the dust was gone….

      • knights fan in minny

        never say never

      • THE hockey GOD

        “betrayed him for no reason”?

        bull shit

        check my, and galdom’s many posts . MAF is not a team player, it’s all me , me , me me me. Like Jerry Seinfeld walking down the street with his man purse.

        • knights fan in minny

          stop it i think most vegas fans would side against you

          • THE hockey GOD

            stop it, most vegas fans are idiots

            that has been proven over and over again by posts on this forum

  6. If you listen to goalie interference, Mike McKenna gives Lehner a pass on the first goal stating that he (Lehner) was totally screened on it (not his fault), and says the second one was called back and doesn’t count.

    Whatever.

    • THE hockey GOD

      does he give him a pass for playing hurt, when he knew he was having season ending surgery ??

      • That goalie interference episode came out before this came out.

        The bottom line here is that Lehner was either playing hurt and lying about it, or he is faking it. Either way, it apparently will be these “off ice issues” that end up in his demise here in Vegas.

        It doesn’t appear that the FO or PDB knew about this injury, but then again, WHY NOT? Either way. Either they knew or they didn’t know. Either way they too are also guilty. There was ample chatter back to March 8th that RL was suffering from severe patella and labrum (upper and lower body) injuries.

        For me, they’re all guilty. Lack of communication, lack of awareness, lack of professionalism, all of it. Foley should clean house.

  7. DL

    I for one, and probably not the only one, am very put off by the lack of communication, information, inaccurate stories and apparent deception that this team, coaching and front office seem to exude and dish out all season long, and longer for that matter, while by accident or mostly intentional at the expense of me and us the fans who pay the greatest expense in tickets, merchandise, TV and more to pay for all their excessive wages of which some are paid too much for their poor perfomance and results.
    On behalf of all fans we deserve more and better.

  8. Mike StG

    Oops to all the speculators and critics!

  9. Tiki Owl

    Has Lehner ever played a full season? His tenure with the Knights has seen him scratched due to injury a good number of times. Only twice in his career has he played more than 50 games, 59 and 53 with Buffalo.

    Fleury has played over 60 games 8 times in his career just during the regular season. Perhaps one of the reason no one but the Knights offered him a contract for multiple seasons is his injury time.

    • Tiki,

      I could be wrong but Lehner was outstanding with the NYI in 2019 and was even vezina finalist he was also great his 1st year with Vegas!

      • Stephanie

        Fully agree with you… The Knights fan base has been very unfair to Lehner… I think DeBoer and management did a horrible job at goalie management and don’t forget it was Fleury’s agent who started all the problems when they were in the bubble

      • Vegas Baby

        As a goalie, Lehner has never been consistent. Spurts of good, almost great, never elite. His comments from the COVID pressure to take the shot (which I felt for him) to the statements about drugs being pushed in the NHL and that coach needing to get fired, etc. is what garnered him a less than positive response from many fans.

        Fleury’s agent illustrated the frustration caused by PDB and the FO. If anything, PDB has just proven again that he doesn’t handle goalies well.

      • kristine Miller

        you are wrong

  10. Herby

    My best guess is:

    Lehner wanted to fight through the injury to help the team.
    After he got pulled he is pissed and now does the surgery that
    he would have done otherwise in the off-season.

    VGK have to make a decision now. Fire DeBoer or trade Lehner
    or both. I can not see how the two of them can work together again, after this.

    • Better yet. Foley says enough of dis shit, fires McCrimmon, McPhee, DeBoer and ships Lehner out, and then signs Fleury for less money, say a 2 year contract at $3 or $4 million a year to backup and mentor Thompson.

      Fleury-Hater-Heads-Exploding

  11. Galdom

    So who is the back up for the last four games

  12. knights fan in minny

    carrier is back thats a good sign

  13. Ned

    The knights weren’t going to win with Lehner in net , the elite shooters in the league knows he goes down on ever shot and he has no glove hand. And Debor has never won any final in the NHL, why do you thing he was let go. Can’t win when it counts. This will be his last team

  14. Tim

    Listening to hockey talk on the radio today it’s hard to believe in 5 years The Knights went from the darling of hockey to what they are today. It’s getting worse by the day and I’m sure DeBoer is panicking because his jobs on the line Kelly has to be feeling the heat and I’m sure it’s not a fun locker room.

    • I think the number of injuries comes into play, but be honest the power play, lack of offense and mediocre/inconsistent goaltending has been frustrating for quite some time going back to year 2. Sure, Gallant, Fleury and the year 1 team slipped a bit, but the complete flushing of the roster and head coach, in hindsight, was a panic knee jerk move.

      What is consistent is the complete lack of communication between the front office, head coach and the players. This latest disconnect between Lehner, DeBoer and the Front Office is just one more nail in the coffin.

      Maybe Foley is finally going to tire of this bullshit, step in and put an end to McCrimmon because all of this nonsense started when he was put into the GM role.

      • Vipvegas

        It’s not Mckrimmon. People keep thinking that. He’s just a puppet for GM Mcfly aka McPhee who’s the real guy pulling the strings.

    • THE hockey GOD

      solution “stop listening to hockey talk on radio today”, it’s all bull shit. Anyone with a brain knows that is the case.

      • Tim

        THG, can it be anymore bullshit then we hear from the Knights management and coach? Anyone with a brain knows the Knights are a sneaky, misleading. corrupt, organization. I don’t see Foley going through this next year get the broom out it’s going to be a clean sweep.

  15. Henderson reloads in the crease with Isaah Saville.

    The Vegas Golden Knights announced Friday that the club has signed goaltender prospect Isaiah Saville to a three-year entry-level contract.

    Saville was Vegas’ fifth-round selection (No. 135) in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. 6ft 1in 196lb, 21 year old is from Anchorage Alaska w/college experience.

    Looks great in net!

  16. Brendan Brisson looking great on the Silver Knights, 2 points tonight! Rondjberg and Lechyshyn back on the Silver Knights tonight and they have a 6-3 lead now over the Barracuda.

  17. Looking back at our season, Pdb over-played Lehner early on, using him in almost every game. I felt coach was going to wear him out, leading to the injuries we now know about. No matter how much a coach relies on his #1,
    goalies absolutely need some REST. The pressure, both physical and ESP mental, on Lehner, must have been great. And, knowing he can be shaken, PDB should NOT have over-used him like he did. I feel it has led to exactly what we have now: a hurt, broken goalie. And we’ve had to scramble to fix it. If coach had actually used the back-up ( was it BROSSOIT?) during early season, we might have a fresh, rested, injury- free Lehner now.

    • THE hockey GOD

      considering he knew his back up goalie wasn’t much, can you blame him ? Turns out he needed those points early on, or they’d be out of playoff run. Like HABS, by now.

      • That’s a valid point, thg. But, a team cannot hope to make it to playoff time riding only 1 goalie all season. No game time for the backup doesn’t improve the backup deficit. Backup needs some real time at net.. Something bad is bound to happen, when one goalie shoulders ALL the burden. I dunno, I just know Lehner is used up. I have trust in LT to carry us now, but we STILL have the #2 problem. UGH! This season did NOT go as planned!!

        • THE hockey GOD

          the best laid plan of mice and men; new franchises often have issues with lack of depth

          did RL know he was having season end knee surgery when he deleted his twitter account ?

          why is he silent now ?

    • kristine Miller

      SEND DEBOER PACKING!!!

  18. VGK_OG

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I don’t have confidence in the front office (that is a separate and LONG rant). As for RL, he is a good goalie, and is great sometimes. But we have never seen him play a full season… First “year”, acquired at the trade deadline, and played well in the playoffs. Last year, was hurt A LOT, and Fleury carried the team and won the trophy. This year, hurt about half of the season. So, much inconsistency with net minding, which also plays into how the team plays.

    Love to see this Cup match-up: Rangers vs. Wild
    Just saying….

  19. Contact Tracer

    FUCKING SHIT SHOW ….LMFAO!

    Yet another Twitter Kneeler debacle …. say it isn’t so ????

    Carry on ….

  20. Dwayne

    I think the coach should be fired. If he doesn’t know about the starting goalie health issues. The coach never liked fleury cuz he beat him when he was with Pittsburg in the final so yo get back at him he just used robin more than he should have and I hope it costs him his job

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