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Nuts and Bolts: Tampa Bay Lightning tough guy Konopka also cultured

Quote to note

"You don't want to get hit with that shot. He's got one of the hardest shots in the league, probably one of the hardest shots I've seen."

— C Steven Stamkos, on D Kurtis Foster's 101.5 mph slap shot

Family anthem

C Zenon Konopka said he wants his sister, Cynthia, to sing the national anthem at a Lightning home game and said he will talk to the team about making it happen.

"It would be pretty special for me for her to sing there," he said.

Cynthia, 30, is an opera-singing music teacher who lives in London, Ontario. Konopka said she sings in seven languages — English, French, Spanish, Czech, Polish, Russian and Italian — and even speaks enough of each to "get by." She also plays the violin.

"It's pretty amazing for me and my rough buddies," Konopka said of Cynthia's singing. "I have a rough crowd I grew up with. We're very intense and very sports oriented, and it was pretty amazing to bring them to a concert. They were amazed by it.

"It doesn't matter how intense you are or how sports-oriented, it's nice to get some culture and some musical interest in your life once in a while."

The Lightning should take note. Cynthia sang before her brother's game in March 2004 for AHL Utah. Konopka scored the winning goal.

Happy birthday etiquette

The birthday shaving cream pie in the face has become a much-anticipated tradition among Lightning players. But when Ryan Malone's turn came Tuesday, he was hit while on the team plane to Boston, and he said the culprit was a flight attendant.

The sneak attack was not completely appreciated.

"I thought maybe the plane was off limits, so it was kind of questionable," said Malone, who turned 30. "Now, it's exploring outside the rink, so it will be interesting.

The worst part?

"I had my suit on," Malone said. "We do it at the rink, we have our hockey gear on or our under stuff, but it's all in good fun. Got a little upset but everything comes back around."

So far, Alex Tanguay, who turned 30 on Nov. 21, is the only birthday boy to escape.

"I kept it quiet," he said. "(Steven) Stamkos found out, but by then it was too late."

5 questions | LW Ryan Malone

How many tattoos do you have now? I don't know. I don't keep track any more. I just keep adding them.

When did it start? My first one was my family crest I got when I turned 18.

What did your parents say? They hated them, so I always hid them.

What was their reaction when they found out? They weren't too happy about it.

What does your wife think? She must like them, I guess. She has one. I keep trying to make her get a couple more.

Which one hurt most? They all hurt.

Nuts and Bolts: Tampa Bay Lightning tough guy Konopka also cultured 12/05/09 [Last modified: Saturday, December 5, 2009 7:19pm]
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