Gary Bettman speaks on Robin Lehner tweets, Jack Eichel situation

FILE - In this Friday, April 16, 2021, file photo, Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner (90) skates during an NHL hockey game against the Anaheim Ducks in Anaheim, Calif. Vegas goaltender Robin Lehner's messages about mental health have brought the topic to the forefront among hockey players before the Stanley Cup Final gets underway. An expert with experience in mental health with athletes says hockey is lagging behind other sports in making it a priority for players, coaches and staff. (Ashley Landis/AP)

Over the weekend, Las Vegas Golden Knights goalie Robin Lehner published a collection of tweets that accused "many teams" of giving out Benzodiazepines and Ambien to "employees when they travel."

Lehner tagged the NHL and NHLPA in these allegations of medical malpractice and the league reportedly reached out to Lehner to set up an interview with the goalie.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman joined The Jeff Marek Show on Monday and was asked about his perspective on Lehner's position.

"We take his comments seriously and we'd like in short order to be in a conversation with him so we can hear his concerns directly and we're going to follow up to see what merit there may be to his concerns," Bettman said. "You don't have to tweet to get our attention. We have an 800 number people can call. You can call us directly, we're an open book. But if he has concerns we want to hear them and see how they need to be addressed."

Among his tweets, Lehner referenced Flyers coach Alain Vigneault, but clarified on Monday to ESPN's Emily Kaplan that he wasn't accusing Vigneault -- a coach Lehner has never played for -- of improperly distributing pills, but was instead intending to criticize how the coach treats his players.

Vigneault responded to Lehner's tweets on Monday, saying:

"I consider myself experienced. A dinosaur? You could say with experience you become a dinosaur maybe. But I do know I've been coaching a few years and I am tough, I am demanding but I care about my players. Through the years probably there are some guys who liked me and probably some a little less, but I've done it with the best intention (and) with respect."

Lehner has also tweeted about the Jack Eichel situation in Buffalo, where the player and team disagree on how to treat his neck injury. Lehner shared his own story of how an ankle injury was handled during his time with the Sabres and what the long-term effects were.

Eichel, who was stripped of the captaincy by the Sabres at the start of training camp when he predictably failed a physical, was a much-rumoured trade candidate all off-season. Eichel's camp said they fully anticipated a trade by the opening of free agency, but when that didn't come to pass it led Eichel to change his representation from Peter Fish and Peter Donatelli of Global Hockey Consultants to Pat Brisson of Creative Artists Agency.

There is some concern from players that Eichel could sit on the sidelines all season without having a resolution to this issue. The Sabres and Eichel met with the NHL and NHLPA over the off-season to give everyone a chance to present their side of the issue. They ultimately parted ways again without agreeing to a solution.

Bettman was asked for his latest insight into the ongoing Eichel situation.

"We're pretty up to speed in terms of what's going on," Bettman said. "And there's a legitimate disagreement among doctors as to what the course of treatment would be best, both in the short-term and long-term and that's something everybody's wrestling with.

"It's a terrible situation. I don't think it's fair to point the finger at anybody in terms of who's right and wrong. I think everybody's approaching this with the best intentions and that the injury is complex both in its diagnosis and its treatment and I think people need to be a little more patient."

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