Zenon Konopka: Steve Yzerman told me I'm not in the Tampa Bay Lightning's plans
Zenon Konopka was an interesting combination of heart and personality last season for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Not the most skilled player, he logged fourth-line minutes and was a willing fighter. But he also was one of the team's best faceoff men.
It wasn't enough for general manager Steve Yzerman. Konopka said Friday he was told by Yzerman he is not in the Lightning's plans for next season and did not get an offer. He apparently will sign with the Islanders.
"Of course it's frustrating," he added about not being with Tampa Bay. "But the most disappointing part of it is there was a lot of hard work on the ice and off it too, getting to know the players and affecting everyone in a positive way. To throw that year away and start over, it's tough."
Konopka, 29, had two goals and five points and a team-record 265 penalty minutes while averaging 8:08 of ice time in his first-ever full NHL season. He also won 62.3 percent of his faceoffs, was a large presence in the locker room and a major organizer of team functions. That will not be easy to replace.
"It's a business," Konopka said. "You realize that and move on."