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In His Own Words: Lehner on opening night

The Sabres' goalie talks about preparing for this season and overcoming injuries.

by Robin Lehner @RobinLehner /

Robin Lehner will start in net when the Sabres open their season against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night. He shared his thoughts on the team's expectations as well as what it means to be healthy with 

When you battle through injuries for two straight seasons, you really do get an appreciation for the times when you get to be out there and you feel healthy like I do today. No experience made me appreciate my health more than my concussion during my final year in Ottawa.

 You don't really know what it's like before you have one. I'll be honest, I didn't really think much about concussions at all until I had my own. 

I realized that everything can change in one moment. One bad thing out on the ice is all it takes. For the first month or two, I couldn't even handle light. Ottawa is very white and snowy in February, so I wore sunglasses everywhere I went those two months. It's a hard feeling to explain.

I'd be lying if I said that I never doubted whether or not I'd every play again. When you have severe headaches, migraines, that's fine. When you start having it for a week, and it turns into a couple of weeks and you just don't get a break from it, you start questioning things. You're not the same person. You turn into something else.

When I finally did get to play again last season, I hurt my ankle on opening night. I'm happy to say that all of that is behind me now.

I really like this team. I like the players. My goalie coach, Andrew Allen, is great. I like this city. I'm trying to be a part of a big push here for this season and going forward into the future. It's a lot of pressure on me and everyone around me. It's easier when you're more prepared, which is why I stayed in Buffalo to train this summer. 

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But I'm not the only one who's prepared. I mean, look around our dressing room. Everyone in the League trains to get better, don't get me wrong. But I just think that we're recognizing our ability to do something here. A lot of guys put extra time in this summer, maybe even more than they have before just to try to be ready. I think we're all excited for that to start.

The success we had at the end of last season is a big part of that. We started seeing the potential in the players on this team. But this game is far more than just individual players. We know if we put things together as a team and we work hard we'll string something together here.

Yesterday, we lost a big member of our team when Jack Eichel was hurt in practice. Unfortunaetly, injuries are a part of this game. I have no updates, but if it's something that keeps him away for a little bit, we have to remember it's not about one guy. Everyone's got to put in an extra five percent and try to make up for what's lost.  

I'm excited. Tonight is a good challenge. The Canadiens are a good team. You know what, I'm confident. I feel like our team is confident.

I'm excited to get out there.

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