My apology to Konopka, and Gatton relents
The quick news is that center Chris Gratton apparently has decided to report to AHL Norfolk, and is expected to be in Friday's lineup. That according to Lightning GM Brian Lawton. Makes sense. Gratton would be walking away from a $1.25-million contract if he decided not to report.
In other news, defenseman Jamie Heward was recalled from Norfolk.
As for Zenon Konopka, my entry from Wednesday did him a disservice. Yes, he only played 47 seconds, but he apparently was shut down because, surprise, the airline he was flying from Norfolk to Washington DC to Buffalo lost his equipment bag. We didn't know this on Wednesday , obviously. He and I commiserated on Thursday before the game with Canadiens, with him telling me how United Airlines lost his bag on the changeover Washington and me explaining how US Airways is on the same page.
Anyway, Konopka explained that he got in to Norfolk about 6:30 p.m., 30 minutes before game time. Coming from nearby Niagara Falls, he called a buddy and got a pair of skates he believed would be about the same size. When they did not feel right, he said he tried Jeff Halpern's skates, Ryan Malone's shoulder pads and Gary Roberts' shin pads.
Amazing how much difference a comfortable pair of skates make.
"It's a huge difference," Konopka said. "I didn't even think it would make that much of a difference but it did. You just don't have any balance. It feels like you're on ice in running shoes. So, I thought fighting would be one way to contribute to the team. After that we had a chat and I said I don't have any balance. I said I don't know if I can help you guys. I'll do anything the coaches want me to do. We had a chat and decided it was probably better if I didn't play."
So there you have it. The guy was being a team player and should be recognized as such, bad skates and all.