Saturday, August 17, 2019

Robin Lehner Autographed Card

Man, Robin Lehner just can't get any respect.

After years of posting decent numbers with the Ottawa Senators (a career 2.88 GAA and .914 save % in 86 games, including twice posting NHL save percentages over .935), the Buffalo Sabres took a chance on him, making him their starter for three even better seasons (2.77 GAA and .916 save % in 129 starts, including two seasons with a save percentage at .920 or better), but they let him go the minute he had a sub-par season and instead opted to go with two unproven entities between the pipes only to miss the playoffs for the ninth straight season.

We now know the cause of Lehner's down year: struggles with mental health and addiction (alcohol and pills). Instead of falling prey to his demons and letting everyone around him down, he sought help and overcame his demons, ending up a finalist for the Vezina trophy and sharing the Jennings with teammate Thomas Greiss, helping the New York Islanders to a division title and ther second round of the playoffs.

And his acceptance speech was powerful:
I’m not ashamed to say I’m mentally ill, but that doesn’t mean mentally weak. I took that first step, got help and that was life changing to me. It’s something that we’ve gotta keep pushing for and we’ve gotta end the stigma.
Still, the Isles wouldn't offer him the deal he wanted, instead signing veteran Semyon Varlamov to a four-year deal, forcing Lehner to sign a one-year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks.

But even the NHL's engraver messed up his trophy's plaque, identifying him as a member of the New York... Rangers:
He can never catch a break.

Here's hoping he finds better luck in Chicago, where he'll be sporting this mask:
Here he is wearing the Sens' throwback black "O" uniform on card #281 from Upper Deck's 2014-15 O-Pee-Chee set:
He signed it in blue sharpie last Spring, in late March, after a game against the Montréal Canadiens.

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