Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Ex-Lightning Zenon Konopka banned for 20 games XXX

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Sabres and former Lightning forward Zenon Konopka said he accepted responsibility for testing positive for a banned substance, which led to the league's decision to suspend him for 20 games Thursday.

Konopka is the first player to be suspended under the performance-enhancing substances program since defenseman Sean Hill was given 20 games in 2007 while with the Islanders.

Without revealing exactly what the substance was, Konopka, with the Lightning from 2008-10, said it was an ingredient in an over-the-counter product and not used as a performance enhancer.

"I take full responsibility for this error. As a professional athlete, I am responsible for what I put in my body, and I am to blame for this mistake," Konopka, 33, said in a statement he released through the players association. "Unfortunately, I did not take the necessary care to ensure that the product did not contain a prohibited substance."

The NHL did not say what substance was discovered or when Konopka was tested. The Sabres have been off for the past month. They missed the playoffs after finishing with the NHL's worst record.

Konopka can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. The ban will be enforced when he signs a new contract.

Kings force Game 7: Riding a signature 21-save performance by goalie Jonathan Quick and goals by Jake Muzzin and Trevor Lewis, the host Kings forced Game 7 of their Western Conference semifinal series by beating the Ducks 2-1 late Wednesday.

"Big game for both organizations," Kings forward Dustin Brown said after the win that sets up the finale at Anaheim's Honda Center tonight.

The Kings held the Ducks to six shots at Quick on five failed power plays.

"We'll get better and have us a (great) game," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said.

After overcoming a 3-0 first-round series deficit with four straight wins to defeat the Sharks in Game 7 on April 30, the Kings are now 5-0 in elimination games this year.

"That's all we're thinking about, that seventh game, and we're going to be the team that wins that game by coming out hard and ready to play and being the most competitive team out there," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said.

Rangers: The team will attend the funeral of Marty St. Louis' mother Sunday in Montreal, the day after opening the Eastern Conference final against the Canadiens in the city.

"(The) funeral was supposed to be Saturday," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "We couldn't move the time of the game, so Marty being who he is was able to move the funeral to Sunday. … As a team, we'll be able to attend his mother's funeral."

France St. Louis died of a heart attack May 8 at 63 during the Rangers' conference semifinal with the Penguins.

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