Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner on Tuesday said he's encouraged by his talks with the NHL and NHLPA after accusing teams of giving players pain medication without prescriptions in a controversial Twitter thread Saturday.
Lehner intended to bring attention to the stalemate between the Buffalo Sabres and Lehner's former teammate Jack Eichel over his options for neck surgery. But his accusations that teams are pushing benzodiazepines and Ambien to players without prescriptions garnered the most attention, including from the NHL.
"The last 72 hours have been really difficult, but also incredibly valuable to me, to my career [and] my life goals," Lehner said Tuesday, reading from a prepared statement at Golden Knights training camp. "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 said that he's "very encouraged about the talks that I've had, and that we'll have moving forward" but that his advocacy efforts will likely be less public going forward.
"I'm always going to advocate for mental health. And advocate for this league," Lehner said. "But moving forward, I'm looking forward to help in a more private matter. This weekend was a cry for help from this league. This league that I love has given me so much. I'm just trying to protect the younger players, and the only way to affect change, in my mind, is to do it in a non-public fashion."
Lehner's thread on Twitter led to controversy at Philadelphia Flyers camp on Monday. During his accusations about NHL teams, Lehner seemed to imply that the Flyers were one such organization pushing pills and called for head coach Alain Vigneault to be fired.
"I was obviously very disappointed," Vigneault said Monday. "As far as me pushing pills, I don't need another income. I have no idea where that comes from. I don't know what else to say. I have no idea."
Lehner told ESPN's Emily Kaplan on Monday that he wasn't trying to accuse Vigneault of distributing pills to players. He said his claim was about the way the coach treats his players, which he believes is unacceptable. Lehner labeled Vigneault "a dinosaur" in a tweet.