You may not recognize this guy, but I'd say he's a pretty fierce competitor. He's the kind of guy that will kill you if you don't kill him first as far as I can tell from what I've seen and heard. So while he's probably a pretty good teammate, I'd imagine he'd be a pain in the rear to play against. The man we're talking about here is Ottawa Senators goaltender Robin Lehner. And Lehner seems to have the psychological aspect of the game of hockey down to a science. He showed it last night against the New York Islanders, and he's shown it in the past as well.
Let's go back to this year's World Junior Championship where Lehner was the starting goaltender for Team Sweden. I'll let the video do the explaining, but watch until the end of the clip where Lehner goes off on the officials during an interview.
Anyway, we can see that Lehner is a little intense when he plays the game. However, last night saw Lehner take things to a whole new level as the end of the second period became bigger than the game.
Now, considering yesterday's post, I'm quite certain that the Islanders' goaltenders were told not to throw down the cheeseboard and glove for some old-fashioned disagreement-settling. Kevin Poulin wisely keeps his gear on, but what was Lehner thinking with the forearm shiver he delivered?
If Lehner was trying to get into Poulin's head, it really backfired as the Islanders won the game in the third period on the ensuing powerplay that resulted from Lehner's indiscretion at center ice. Rob Schremp scored the game-winning goal at 1:39 of the third period, and the Islanders skated to the 5-3 victory. So while it appeared Lehner was trying to get Poulin off his game, it appeared to fire Poulin up as he shut the door in the third period.
I like Lehner's tenacity and intensity, and his personality will certainly keep him as a fan favorite if he continues to push the envelope. I was thinking, though, that maybe Lehner was keeping an Ottawa goaltending tradition alive?
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!