'Humble' Lehner wants to earn spot with Sens
Bruce Garrioch, QMI Agency
|Robin Lehner says he wants to make the Senators roster on his own - not because of injury to another goalie. (ERROL McGIHON/QMI Agency)
OSHAWA — Robin Lehner is choosing his words carefully.
He doesn’t want to give anybody the wrong impression. He wants to make sure he sends the right message. He doesn’t enjoy being called cocky. His goal is the same as every player heading into Senators training camp: To make the big club.
As the Senators prepare to wrap up rookie camp Tuesday, the 20-year-old Lehner is getting ready for the challenge Saturday when the big boys arrive for main camp at the Bell Sensplex.
Having made headlines before, the Swedish goalie is working hard to keep both feet on the ground.
“It’s a hard question,” said Lehner when asked his goal heading into training camp. “It feels like whatever I say to the media, they kind of try to twist it and they kind of try to make me look arrogant.
“I’m going in humble to this camp. I feel like if I’m not going in for a job, why should I even go there? It’s as simple as that. I’m trying to go there and show what I can do. If it goes the right way, that’s good. If it doesn’t, I’m down in Binghamton as a 20-year-old and that’s not bad either.
“I have a lot of friends that are up with the big team now. Of course I want to play with them. Everybody would be lying if they didn’t want to aim for the NHL. That’s what I want to do and that’s what I’m aiming to do since I started hockey.”
With Craig Anderson signed to a four-year contract last spring, the No. 1 job is out of Lehner’s reach for now. But that doesn’t mean he won’t get a chance to play with Ottawa, especially after leading Binghamton to a Calder Cup.
Backup Alex Auld has never been able to play well for long stretches. Should Anderson not be available, Lehner can show he’s got what it takes to play in the NHL.
“I know a lot of spots in the NHL open up because of injuries. But even it comes this year, next year or even the year after, I want to get a spot from the beginning and not because somebody is getting injured,” said Lehner.
“I wouldn’t want somebody’s bad luck to be part of my luck. I know it’s part of the game and I would try my best if that happened, but I’m going to aim to get a spot (against) whoever it may be. You want a fair fight. That’s what sports is all about: You try to compete and you try to do better than others. That’s how teams get better.”