Konopka and other random thoughts
Center Zenon Konopka had a great chance to make an impression on Wednesday night. He'll have another chance tonight against the Canadiens, but, as they say, there's only one chance to make a first impression, and Konopka didn't quite get it right against the Sabres.
Called up on an emergency basis from AHL Norfolk, Konopka did not arrive on the Lightning bench until more than midway through the first period because his plane from Norfolk did not land until 6:30 p.m., 30 minutes before game time.
So, what did Konopka do? Second shift, gets a bad interference penalty. Then gets into a fight with Adam Mair and then ... barely saw the ice again, getting 47 total seconds. There was no injury report so we have to assume Konopka was benched.
This is a great time for the minor league guys. The Lightning is giving most of the ones they believe are at least close to NHL ready a chance to show what they've got as they try to figure out the lay of the land as the season for more serious personnel decisions gets closer. So, Konopka will get another chance. He should be a little smarter.
Other stuff: It's not clear if center Chris Gratton will report to Norfolk. GM Brian Lawton said Gratton a 15-year veteran wants some time to mull it over, and Lawton said he deserves that time given his veteran status. ... Former president Bill Clinton, a friend of Sabres owner Tom Golisano, visited both clubs before the game. ... Have a story Thursday about owner Len Barrie getting in his shots at Barry Melrose. he said the way Melrose prepared for the season was "total negligence." ... Tampa Bay's 0-7-2 winless streak is the longest since a 10-game streak in January 2001, right after John Tortorella took over.