Former Buffalo Sabres’ Goalie Calls Out Drug Abuse by NHL Teams
In the professional sports world, we very rarely get unfiltered, honest opinions from athletes.
Think back to the most memorable press conferences of athletes and coaches. From Allen Iverson's "practice" tirade, to Jim Mora's repeated question of "playoffs?" to the media, there have been some moments of true honesty and emotion over the years. That being said, those moments are so memorable because they happen so rarely.
Saturday night, former Buffalo Sabres' goaltender, Robin Lehner, took to Twitter to shed light on a troubling trend in the National Hockey League. In a string of tweets during the course of the day, Lehner called out his former team for their mismanagement of star center Jack Eichel's injury, before launching into a tirade about the misuse of opioids in the league.
Let's go through some of Lehner's assertions, because if what he's saying is true, the NHL is going to have a great deal of explaining to do.
Let's start at the beginning, where Lehner tweets out a link detailing the latest from the Jack Eichel-Sabres saga. In the tweet, he makes his first allegation:
He goes on to clarify that his previous, and upcoming, claims are not a reflection of the Buffalo Sabres' fanbase, an extremely passionate group of hockey fans. In the process, he actually manages to clear the air with the fans, considering that neither Lehner nor the fans got along great during his time in Buffalo:
Just a warning, the next tweet contains pictures with a pretty gruesome ankle injury:
The injury is horrifying, but the picture of Lehner is worse. He makes his second claim about frivolous prescribing of pain pills, and shows this picture to give fans an idea of how negatively he was impacted by the pills.
It gets worse.
It's a horrifying trio of tweets, surely the most damning of the assertions that Lehner makes. He claims that teams would hand out opioids as "sleeping pills" for their trips, the kind of opioids that can lead to a dependency building in just a few short weeks.
Lehner's revelations have led to an outpouring of support from those in the game of hockey, but also, a number of other NHL players to break their silence. Read this string from former NHL player Daniel Carcillo, talking about his former teammate Steve Montador, who died tragically in 2015:
Few players are able to publicly open up about the demons they've faced in their career, and Robin Lehner is already a trailblazer in that respect. The information that Lehner shared is groundbreaking, and downright terrifying. Assuming that the former Sabres' netminder is accurate in his claims, the National Hockey League is going to have a lot of explaining to do, and a lot of changes to make.