Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner lost his skate blade – not once, but twice – during Tuesday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
The first incident came two minutes into the second period, after Lehner went behind the net to play the puck.
“You’ve got to keep fighting!” referee Francois St. Laurent told Lehner. “Nothing I can do, they’ve got to get the puck.”
Play continued, with the whistle sounding after Vegas recovered the puck following a shot off the crossbar.
Two minutes of repairs and Lehner was back between the pipes.
Lehner lost his blade again later in the period after going post-to-post to make a save.
A Vegas player attempted to alert the officials. “Hey, he’s got no blade! He’s got no blade!”
“I know! I know!” referee Brad Meier is heard yelling in response.
Play was eventually stopped with 3:38 remaining in the second period, again for “Player Equipment” according to the league’s official play-by-play.
Rule 14.1 covers equipment issues.
Play shall not be stopped nor the game delayed by reasons of adjustments to clothing, equipment, skates or sticks.
No delay shall be permitted for the repair or adjustment of goalkeeper’s equipment. If adjustments are required, the goalkeeper shall leave the ice and his place shall be taken by the substitute goalkeeper immediately.
The refs allowed nearly two minutes of stoppage time for repairs to be made to Lehner’s skate on the ice, with referee Francois St. Laurent watching the work and staying in contact with the benches.
“The rule is, when we have possession they can blow it,” said Lehner. “It’s kind of tough for a goalie with one skate.”
Officials typically grant a bit more leeway towards goaltenders when it comes to gear. Only a lost goalie helmet can prompt an immediate stoppage in play, but even then, only if there’s no immediate scoring opportunity.
From Rule 9.6:
When a goalkeeper has lost his helmet and/or face mask and his team has control of the puck, the play shall be stopped immediately to allow the goalkeeper the opportunity to regain his helmet and/or face mask.
When the opposing team has control of the puck, play shall only be stopped if there is no immediate and impending scoring opportunity.
Golden Knights head coach Pete DeBoer spoke after the game.
“I’ve seen guys lose their skate blades before but not goalies,” said DeBoer. “And sure not twice.”
Lehner battled through, playing nearly a full minute and making three saves without the benefit of his left skate blade.
“I was pretty frustrated,” said Lehner. “That’s the first time that’s ever happened to me. I had old skates for a while and have changed them. … I don’t know what happened there at first but you have to battle through it.”
Those old skates? They were a bit older than Lehner may have been letting on.
“I just found out after the game those skates are 4 years old,” DeBoer said. “He’s got to take some responsibility for that. I think that between our sponsorship agreement and our ownership I’m sure he’s had multiple opportunities to change out his skates.”
“For whatever reason he fell in love with this pair. Sounds like they just wore out. We’ll have to get that fixed.”
No word on the status of Lehner’s skates for Game 2.