One of the biggest story lines surrounding the Vegas Golden Knights this season was the relationship between head coach Pete DeBoer and goaltender Robin Lehner. As the 2021-22 campaign neared its end, it became increasingly clear that the two were not happy with one another, though things may not be as bad as they seem.
Golden Knights president of hockey operations George McPhee recently appeared on the Bob McCown Podcast, where he spoke on a number of issues as to what went wrong for his club this season. One of the more intriguing moments of the show came when McPhee was asked about whether or not the relationship between DeBoer and Lehner was salvageable. Though he didn’t deny that there was conflict, he doesn’t seem to be in the belief that it will be an issue next season.
“I’m not,” McPhee responded when asked if he had concerns about the the relationship between DeBoer and Lehner moving forward. “There’s been some noise about that, but people get over it.”
The relationship between the two seemed to sour in the second half of the season, when it was known that Lehner was battling both a shoulder and knee injury. The 30-year-old chose to try and tough it out, but reportedly became frustrated after DeBoer called him out for his poor performance in back-to-back games, and then chose to pull him after the first period of a game against the Washington Capitals despite the fact he had only allowed one goal.
Around that same time, DeBoer dismissed Lehner’s injury to the media, claiming that he was healthy and good to go. As we now know, that wasn’t the case, as the goaltender’s injury that he attempted to play through has since resulted in a shoulder surgery in hopes to have him healthy for the 2022-23 season.
Despite McPhee’s optimism, there will still be plenty of questions surrounding the relationship between the two moving forward. Lehner has an extremely big personality, and may not be able to forget how he was treated as easily as some may think. Perhaps he is able to put it behind him and move on, but until he comments on the matter, it is impossible to know.
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