During the 2021-22 season, much was made of the relationship between Robin Lehner and former Vegas Golden Knights head coach Pete DeBoer.
While things appeared smooth sailing at the beginning of the season, they quickly changed after some very inconsistent play from Lehner. It was clear that his play was irritating DeBoer, who subtly called the goaltender out plenty near the end of the season. The big issue with that was the fact that Lehner, who ended up undergoing shoulder surgery in May, was reportedly playing hurt for several months.
Despite the seemingly rocky relationship between the two, neither have acknowledged that there was a rift of any sort. To complicate the matter even further, general manager Kelly McCrimmon recently suggested on the Cam & Strick Podcast that DeBoer has always been a big fan of Lehner’s.
“Pete [DeBoer] has always been a Lehner fan,” McCrimmon said. “He wanted him as our goalie.”
These comments are interesting not only in regards to what happened between Lehner and DeBoer this past season, but also the big trade last offseason that saw Marc-Andre Fleury shipped off to the Chicago Blackhawks. Many were surprised that the Golden Knights chose to move Fleury over Lehner, and these comments seem to suggest that DeBoer may have played a major role in that decision.
Of course, it is worth mentioning that many around the NHL feel that McCrimmon recently threw DeBoer under the bus by choosing to fire him after missing playoffs in 2021-22 despite plenty of issues outside of his control. Perhaps these comments are once again him looking to shift blame elsewhere, something many will likely suggest. Regardless of what the real story is, they are interesting comments nonetheless.
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