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
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.