Zenon Konopka has been suspended 20 games by the NHL for violating terms of NHL performance enhancing substances program. Konopka is set to become a free agent at the end of the season, and the Buffalo Sabres have no desire to re-sign him.
“Unfortunately, I did not take the necessary care to ensure that the product did not contain a prohibited substance,” he said. “I want to stress, however, that I did not take this substance for the purpose of enhancing my athletic performance.” USA Today
The twist here is that Konopka doesn’t seem to have any team lining up to sign him, and his suspension will not take effect until a new contract with an NHL team is signed. Under the CBA, Konopka will be given a mandatory referral to the NHL/NHLPA Program for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health for evaluation and possible treatment.
Konopka has played in 346 NHL games with seven different teams, and to his credit, he has racked up 1082 penalty minutes and only 30 points. I think it’s safe to say his NHL career may have just been derailed.
In a statement, Konopka said he took an over-the-counter product containing the prohibited drug. I can understand not knowing every chemical or drug in a product, but if my livelihood depended on it, I like to think I would do a bit of research before taking any OTC medications.