The Buffalo Sabres may or may not have to worry about this, but Zenon Konopka has been suspended twenty games by the National Hockey League for violating the terms of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program.
Ok, so let me get this straight – guys can take shots to the head, dirty hits, and potentially injure players, with little or no repercussion. Fail a drug test though and the league throws you out for a quarter of the season.
The Buffalo Sabres won’t have to worry about the suspension unless they sign Zenon Konopka, his contract expired at the end of the 2013-2014 season.
Konopka is an unrestricted free agent this off season, and is most likely eagerly awaiting July 1 so he and his agent can test the markets to see what team will sign him.
Teams will no doubt be wary of signing Zenon Konopka know, knowing that they won’t be using his services until at least Christmas time.
The NHL has refused further comment on the issue.
In a statement released by the player, he said he had taken an over the counter product which contained a banned substance.
“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.” - Zenon Konopka, via USA Today.
So he took an over the counter drug at some point and didn’t read the label. Remember when teams would have bowls of Sudafed in the locker room for players to take as they pleased?
Twenty games seems like a pretty harsh punishment for any team to bear for what seems to be a minor issue.
Konopka is a free agent this summer. He came to the Buffalo Sabres via the Minnesota Wild. The Buffalo Sabres claimed him off the waiver wire on January 3, 2014. He has made his way around quite a bit of the NHL with stops in Anaheim, Columbus, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, New York (Islanders), Ottawa, and finally in Buffalo.