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Flyers' Vigneault denies Lehner's claim he mistreats players

Mike Stobe / National Hockey League / Getty

Philadelphia Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault doesn't agree with Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner's criticisms of his leadership.

Lehner tweeted about several issues in the NHL, including the allegedly widespread improper distribution of prescription drugs, which drew the attention of the league. He took aim at Vigneault specifically on Saturday night.

Vigneault addressed Lehner's comments Monday.

"Well, I don't know the young man. Two things he said about me were that I was a dinosaur - I consider myself experienced. You could say with experience you become a dinosaur maybe," Vigneault said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Sam Carchidi. "I do know I've been coaching a few years and I am tough. I am demanding. But I care about my players. I want their best. Through the years probably there are some guys that have liked me and some guys maybe a little bit less, but I've done it with the best intention and with respect, and, like I said, I don't know the young man that said that.

"As far as the other thing, with me pushing pills, I don't need another income. I have no idea where that comes from ... I don't know what else to say."

Lehner said Monday that he didn't mean to accuse Vigneault of distributing drugs to players, and he was instead trying to communicate that the coach's overall treatment of players is unacceptable, according to ESPN's Emily Kaplan.

The NHLPA reached out to Lehner, and the two sides spoke Sunday and had a "good call," Kaplan added.

"We take (Lehner's) comments seriously," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told Sportsnet's Jeff Marek, adding that the league wants to meet with Lehner soon to discuss them, according to Sportsnet's Luke Fox.

Vigneault began his head coaching career in 1997 with the Montreal Canadiens. He's coached 1,341 games with the Canadiens, Flyers, New York Rangers, and Vancouver Canucks but never coached Lehner. He's been with the Flyers organization since 2019.

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