Robin Lehner expressed frustration and disappointment in the NHL during a media availability Wednesday.
The Vegas Golden Knights netminder said the league lied to players regarding policies about vaccinations and easing various COVID-19 restrictions with which players must comply. The NHL has since refuted Lehner's comments.
Lehner said the league’s message was that isolation restrictions would lighten once a certain threshold of vaccinations was met throughout the league.
Despite many teams having recently been vaccinated, including the West Division-leading Golden Knights, Lehner said the NHL and NHLPA informed him the restrictions would remain unchanged – at least until all teams have had the opportunity to get vaccinated — with the rationale being a concern over some teams perhaps gaining a “competitive edge” over those teams forced to comply with tighter restrictions.
“Being lied to about things changing to kind of force us to take the vaccine — unacceptable,” Lehner said. “And now that we have taken the vaccine to have an excuse to say, ‘Nah, we’re not changing because of competitive advantage,’ it’s outrageous.”
One of Lehner’s primary concerns was the severe mental health toll these types of strict restrictions can have on a person.
“People develop things during isolations like this, like drug abuse, domestic violence, financial issues that cause bad anxieties that lead to depression,” Lehner explained.
The 2019 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy winner has frequently opened up about his mental health struggles and has been involved in various mental health initiatives.
Shortly after his media availability, Lehner posted some follow-up comments on Twitter while also backtracking on a comment where he likened the current restrictions to being “trapped in a prison.”
You can watch and listen to Lehner’s full comments in the video at the top of the page.