Islanders' Lehner calls Buffalo an 'atmosphere of negativity'

Jonathan Kozub / National Hockey League / Getty

A change of scenery has done wonders for Robin Lehner.

After being non-tendered by the Buffalo Sabres last year, Lehner is enjoying a career season with the New York Islanders after signing a one-year, $1.5-million contract this summer.

Lehner is in a clear state of mind after his alcohol and sleeping pill addiction, as well as his bipolar disorder, almost led to his own suicide. While those are certainly contributing factors to his performance, Lehner credited his new organization - and atmosphere - for his turnaround.

“It’s a different feeling this year in general,” Lehner told Newsday's Andrew Gross. “We’re having fun. It’s a positive atmosphere. It’s not surrounded by negativity. That was one of the hard things when I was in Buffalo, just this cloud and atmosphere of negativity.”

The New York media market has a reputation of being hard on athletes, but Lehner claims it's a cakewalk compared to Buffalo.

“No, Buffalo prepared me,” Lehner said. “It couldn’t be any worse. Buffalo would prepare me to go to Toronto. It was so bad there sometimes. You would walk out to games and the game hadn’t started and people are already booing. It’s an incredibly passionate fan base and they’re filling that building but it can be miserable in that rink."

Now, Lehner may need to begin clearing his trophy shelf. He's New York's nominee for the Bill Masterton Trophy, but he could also take home the Jennings Trophy along with fellow Islanders netminder Thomas Greiss.

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Islanders' Lehner calls Buffalo an 'atmosphere of negativity'
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