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:
— Zenon Konopka (@ZenonKonopka) May 15, 2014
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.
Sep 30, 2014, 9:25 PM EDT
Updated with GM Craig MacTavish’s comments.
Sep 30, 2014, 9:10 PM EDT
Buffalo was fearing a broken jaw, which would be even worse.
Sep 30, 2014, 7:27 PM EDT
It looks like the transition from Charles Wang’s ownership will ramp up soon.
Sep 30, 2014, 7:13 PM EDT
What a difference injuries and a nearing regular season makes …
Sep 30, 2014, 6:40 PM EDT
He says the “progress has been really good.”
Sep 30, 2014, 5:28 PM EDT
Will this be another season to forget for Toronto?
Sep 30, 2014, 4:26 PM EDT
Called him “the best defenseman on the ice.”
Sep 30, 2014, 4:12 PM EDT
Buffalo trims training camp roster to 30.
Sep 30, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
“We’ve got three games left here, so we really need to finalize what we’re going to do.”
Sep 30, 2014, 3:50 PM EDT
Both off to AHL Texas.
Sep 30, 2014, 3:17 PM EDT
“You don’t pay attention to that kind of stuff.”
Sep 30, 2014, 2:28 PM EDT
“I’m not naive, I know as the season goes on it’ll become more of a talking point.”
Sep 30, 2014, 1:42 PM EDT
D-man was likely headed to AHL Utica.
Sep 30, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT
Looks like both have avoided serious damage.
Sep 30, 2014, 1:02 PM EDT
And they open at home on Oct. 10.
Sep 30, 2014, 12:49 PM EDT
So says Lindy Ruff.
Sep 30, 2014, 11:57 AM EDT
Flyers captain will make preseason debut at Wells Fargo.
Sep 30, 2014, 11:46 AM EDT
Could either catch on with another team?
Sep 30, 2014, 11:39 AM EDT
Another draft bust leaves the organization.
Sep 30, 2014, 11:09 AM EDT
Defending Eastern Conference champs had some major turnover this summer.
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