The coach-goalie conversation as the Islanders’ morning skate was wrapping up on Saturday was a long one and Robin Lehner did a lot of the talking and gesturing.
But there was no conflict with coach Barry Trotz or resentment over being the backup to Thomas Greiss for the second straight game. Quite the opposite.
“We were talking everything from team success to where he’s at and where he wants to get to and life stuff,” Trotz said. “He’s just reassuring me everything is fine.”
Lehner, 27, who spent the past three seasons with the Sabres, signed a one-year, $1.5-million deal with the Islanders and then detailed as training camp opened up about his addiction battles and mental health issues. Lehner is now sober and on medications.
“It’s been a lot of adjustment for me and the goalie coaches are working on a lot of different things,” Lehner said. “Things aren’t really coming naturally yet but I fully trust in the process and the coaches. This is really like being part of a real team here. Everyone is buying in.
“There’s no miscommunication,” Lehner added. “They’re creating a team here and that means being part of it whether you play or not. I’m OK with that.”
Trotz said facing the Predators, who he coached from their inception in 1998 through 2014, still stirs emotions in him.
“I was there a long time,” Trotz said. “I still consider Nashville my home. It’s probably the one place I’ve spent more time in than any other place I’ve ever lived, even my hometown. I was part of something you only get to do once. I was picking carpet colors, figuring out where people sit, designing dressing rooms, scouting players.”
Notes & Quotes
Andrew Ladd [upper body] remains on injured reserve retroactive to Sept. 16 but the left wing did participate in the morning skate. “I don’t have a timeframe,” Trotz said. “It’s about the long haul for him. He’s missed a lot of time…” Forwards Ross Johnston and Tom Kuhnhackl and defenseman Scott Mayfield remained the healthy scratches.