weather icon Cloudy
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Golden Knights deny report goaltender to undergo surgery

Updated April 22, 2022 - 5:22 pm

As far as the Golden Knights are concerned, goaltender Robin Lehner is healthy and available to play if needed.

That runs contrary to an ESPN report on Friday stating Lehner was having season-ending surgery on a lower-body injury and clouds his status for the final week of the regular season.

“There’s been nothing physically that would keep him from performing and going out there and performing for us. There’s been no red flags that way,” coach Pete DeBoer said after practice at City National Arena. “As far as my knowledge goes, and that’s personal conversations with the player, there has not been a play issue.

“That’s as simple as I can make it. I’m not a doctor. You either can play or you can’t play.”

Lehner did not practice Friday, and DeBoer said it was a maintenance day. DeBoer added that he expected the goaltender on the ice for practice Saturday and dressed Sunday when the Knights host San Jose in the home finale at T-Mobile Arena.

This all comes after Lehner started Wednesday’s 4-3 overtime victory over Washington and was pulled at the end of the first period in favor of Logan Thompson. DeBoer said after the game that Lehner was “healthy, he’s fresh, he’s got a lot of energy and we need him at this point.”

Lehner has battled a series of injuries since the middle of December. Daily Faceoff previously reported Lehner is playing through a torn labrum in one of his shoulders that will require surgery.

The latest setback came March 8 against Philadelphia when Lehner sustained what ESPN reported was a major knee injury in the 2-1 loss. He left the road trip and flew to Las Vegas for further evaluation.

Lehner returned to the crease April 3 and beat Vancouver, but has gone 2-2-1 with a 3.20 goals-against average and .892 save percentage in six appearances. That includes a 3-2 loss Monday against lowly New Jersey, when Lehner allowed two costly goals in the third period.

The collective bargaining agreement allows clubs to determine the course of treatment for injuries, rather than the player. That gives the Knights final say on when and if Lehner will have surgery.

Lehner was not available to the media Friday. A voicemail message left with Lehner’s agent, Craig Oster, seeking clarification on his client’s status was not returned.

“Robin has had a tough year with injuries, as many of our players have, some who have missed considerable time, some who haven’t,” general manager Kelly McCrimmon wrote in a text message to the Review-Journal. “But there is no ‘play’ issue. He is available to help our team in any way he can.”

Goalie Laurent Brossoit remains on long-term injured reserve, meaning Thompson is in line to start the final four games of the regular season with Lehner ineffective, if not injured.

Against Washington, Thompson came in cold and stopped 13 of 15 shots to win for the eighth time in his past 11 decisions. He owns a 2.56 goals-against average and .920 save percentage in 15 appearances.

The Knights are hoping the 25-year-old Thompson, the American Hockey League goaltender of the year last season after going undrafted, can replicate what Jordan Binnington did for St. Louis in 2019.

“The party will be at my house if he does,” DeBoer said.

Binnington spent five seasons in the minors after being a third-round pick in 2011, then led the Blues to the Stanley Cup after being recalled midseason.

“You look at other goalies in the league, it happens a lot,” winger Jonathan Marchessault said. “A guy that comes in, he’s hot and gives a chance to win the hockey game and they keep on going with their careers. That’s how you build a career, I think. That’s what he wants to achieve.”

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

Don't miss the latest VGK news. Like our Golden Edge page