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Lehner calls out NHLPA over Eichel saga

Rob Marczynski / National Hockey League / Getty

Robin Lehner is going to bat for his former teammate.

The Vegas Golden Knights goaltender called out the NHL Players' Association on Friday amid drama surrounding Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel.

Eichel missed the second half of last season due to a herniated disk in his neck, and he and the team have been in a stalemate on how to proceed ever since. The team wants him to repair the ailment with a fusion surgery, while Eichel wants to undergo an artificial disc replacement procedure. The Sabres have denied Eichel's preferred method, possibly since it's a relatively new surgery that hasn't been performed on an NHL player before.

The Sabres stripped Eichel of his captaincy Sept. 23 after he failed his physical.

Lehner - who played with Eichel in Buffalo from 2015-2018 - was persistent in his efforts to get the NHLPA's attention.

Lehner also appeared on the "Spittin' Chiclets" podcast this past week to discuss the situation.

Lehner has never been shy about speaking up for what he believes is right. In April, he called out the league for apparently failing to keep promises about loosening restrictions for vaccinated players. The 30-year-old, who's been diagnosed with Bipolar I disorder, has also become an advocate for open discussions about mental illnesses.

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