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Sabres’ Konopka suspended 20 games for PEDs

May 15, 2014, 2:15 PM EDT

Buffalo forward Zenon Konopka has been suspended 20 games for violating terms of the NHL- NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program, the league announced on Thursday.

Konopka, 33, addressed the situation via Twitter:

And via this statement, issued by the NHLPA:

“I deeply regret that I have tested positive for a prohibited substance in violation of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program.  I accept full responsibility for this error. As a professional athlete I am responsible for what I put in my body, and I am to blame for this mistake. 

I want to make it clear that this violation occurred because I ingested a product that can be purchased over-the-counter and which, unknown to me, contained a substance that violated the program.  Unfortunately, I did not take the necessary care to ensure that the product did not contain a prohibited substance.  I want to stress, however, that I did not take this substance for the purpose of enhancing my athletic performance.   

I apologize to my teammates and to the Buffalo Sabres organization, as well as to my friends and family. I have learned a great deal from this experience, something I hope to be able to share with younger players.  I will accept this suspension and continue to work hard to prepare for the 2014-15 season.”

Claimed off waivers from Minnesota in early January, Konopka appeared in 23 games for the Sabres this season, registering one assist while racking up 33 PIM. The noted tough guy has bounced around the NHL since debuting with Anaheim in 2005-06, spending time with the Blue Jackets, Lightning, Islanders and Senators prior to signing with Minnesota in 2012.

It’s worth noting that Konopka’s two-year deal has expired, meaning he’s currently a free agent. One figures it’ll be difficult for him to find work given he’ll miss one-quarter of the upcoming campaign.

This is not Konopka’s first run-in with the NHL, either. He was fined $2,500 for verbal abuse during Ottawa’s opening-round series against the Rangers during the ’12 playoffs, when he made comments towards Brian Boyle while Boyle was conducting a television interview.

Konopka is the first player to be suspended under the Performance Enhancing Substances Program since defenseman Sean Hill was given a 20-game ban in 2007 while playing for the New York Islanders.

  1. c9castine - May 15, 2014 at 2:18 PM

    well, have to respect the way hes handling it.

    in other sports guys are just like “hell no i didnt do that and if it was in my body its somebody elses fault!”

  2. lowenni - May 15, 2014 at 2:20 PM

    Over the counter drug? Reminds me of Backstrom…sounds like a mistake and misunderstanding. 20 games is a lot for someone who’s not even playing right now

    • jernster21 - May 15, 2014 at 6:28 PM

      Except Backstrom was taking an allergy medication which he takes here in the states and isn’t a problem in the NHL, so clearly it’s something more than that.

  3. 16thearlofderby - May 15, 2014 at 2:23 PM

    we learn by our mistakes

    which PR firm drafted his statement

    • sanfranbruinsfan - May 16, 2014 at 4:58 AM

      Which PR firm came up with the name Zenon? More people should be named Zenon!

  4. killerpgh - May 15, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    Kind of crazy how the NHL has only had 2 players suspended for PED’s in 6 years. Seems like MLB and NFL have more than that in a month (I Don’t follow the NBA at all so I couldn’t say where they fall into this conversation). I wonder if the NHL test is just that much more behind the times/lenient or if the actual players just keep themselves clean?

  5. lordfletcher - May 15, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    anyone else find the 20 game suspension interesting… interesting in how this compares to on the ice suspensions.

    Neal can knee a guy in the back of the head and get 5 or 7 (I forget)

    Cooke on my favorite team gets 7 with his history for kneeing two weeks ago.

    Lucic taking his stick to an another mans junk gets 0.

    I am all for this suspension d/t PEDS but its just laughable how the NHL punishes as a whole.

    • jernster21 - May 15, 2014 at 2:57 PM

      The suspension is drafted into the CBA which both the NHL and NHLPA agree to. You can’t write every on ice situation into the CBA. Seems pretty cut and dry, you fail a drug test, you get suspended for x amount of games.

  6. freneticgarfieldfan - May 15, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    “I deeply regret that I have tested positive…” – apparently not for taking the PEDs

    • krebsy34 - May 15, 2014 at 3:58 PM

      You must have stopped reading after that sentence.

  7. montrealbbr - May 15, 2014 at 2:54 PM

    I guess he isnt lying because you can purchase steroids over the counter in some countries. But Im sure it was just an allergy medication…

  8. entitymn - May 15, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    New phrase: “Career ending Sudafed purchase”

  9. krebsy34 - May 15, 2014 at 4:11 PM

    Don’t really get the Konopka bashing. He is accepting full responsibility, he realizes that he messed up knowingly or unknowlingly. In a day and age when everyone is so quick to deny deny deny this has to be looked at as doing the right thing of a bad situation.

  10. purpleguy - May 15, 2014 at 4:18 PM

    I hope he didn’t feed that supplement to his pet rabbit Hoppy.

  11. 950003cups - May 15, 2014 at 5:34 PM

    “I was rushing when I bought it over the counter in my trainers office. I thought it said SUDAFED when in fact it really said SUPER-PED. Next time I will read the label thoroughly”

  12. rjt34 - May 15, 2014 at 5:37 PM


  13. mcphillthy - May 15, 2014 at 8:59 PM

    Who cares if anybody does PEDs or not. I don’t care if players use them. If it makes the best in the world that much greater then I don’t see a downside. They are the most competetive people in the world at what they do. Everyone is looking for that edge

  14. skoivu10 - May 15, 2014 at 9:08 PM

    Well you can’t really call them “Performance Enhancing” drugs…after all, it is konopka

  15. sabresfanallday - May 15, 2014 at 9:54 PM

    It’s not like its making him a point producer

  16. tross16 - May 16, 2014 at 9:16 AM

    The guys a scrub and the peds clearly didn’t help his game out so who really cares

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