Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner is pessimistic the NHL season will resume.
In an interview with Swedish-based publication SportExpressen that was published online Thursday and translated to English, Lehner said he saw “a zero percent chance” the regular season and playoffs can be completed after the league’s pause because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“No, I don’t think it is possible to shut down and then run again when you have 100,000 cases of the coronavirus,” said Lehner, according to the translation. “Safety goes first. You can’t turn 180 degrees and start playing again. I see a zero percent chance that you can save this season. Now I hope that next season can start as usual in October.”
Lehner, a native of Gothenburg, Sweden, was acquired at the trade deadline from Chicago and is 3-0 with a 1.67 goals-against average and .940 save percentage in three appearances with the Knights.
“It was a little difficult at first; this was the first time I changed club in the NHL in the middle of a season,” Lehner said. “It took me a week to get into it and land a little. Vegas is a good team with a good coach. Good guys in the dressing room, which made it easy for me to feel welcome.
“As a goalkeeper, you are rather exposed when there is a quick change of environment, but here is a slightly older group of players, and I think that has made it easier for me.”
Lehner is set to become an unrestricted free agent once the NHL determines the offseason calendar. He is staying in Las Vegas with his family during the pause, according to the interview.
The NHL has not said when it expects to resume play and extended its recommendation for players to self-isolate through April 6. It previously announced hopes to have a training camp period 45 days into the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eight-week recommended ban on gatherings of more than 50 people.
“Yes, of course it’s bitter. I love to play hockey, and the team here is so good that we had a chance to go all the way,” Lehner said. “I myself came in and started playing well. On the whole, I think I had a good season in the league again, although it got a little weird in Chicago during the last month there.”