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Sabres' Konopka has made the hockey rounds

For Zenon Konopka's sake, let's hope he stays with the Buffalo Sabres for a while.  The newest Sabre has traveled around so much, he might not know what city he's in and his friends have to be getting tired of constantly  changing his address information.

This is Konopka's 11th year in professional hockey and the Sabres are his 13th team.  The Niagara On The Lake native began his pro career in 2002 with Wilkes Barre in the American Hockey League.  He'd spend most of the next seven seasons in the minors, making other AHL stops in Utah, Cincinnati, Portland(Maine), Syracuse and Norfolk.  Konopka also found himself in the East Coast Hockey League on a couple of occasions, playing for Wheeling and then Idaho.

Konopka, who just turned 33 last Thursday, was actually the captain while in Syracuse and Norfolk.  In Syracuse he had his finest season as a pro, scoring 24 goals and totaling 55 points in 62 games. 

He finally made it to the NHL on a full time basis, for the 2009-2010 season, but the change of employers didn't stop.  After spending that season with Tampa Bay, Konopka was with the New York Islanders for 2010-2011, Ottawa the season after that and Minnesota last season. 

No matter where he's been, Konopka has been a frequent visitor to the penalty box.  His 882 penalty minutes since 2009 leads all NHL players.  He has 1,049 penalty minutes in 324 career games to go along with 12 goals and 17 assists.  While the penalty minute stat is impressive, the eye popping number on Konopka's stat line is his face-off percentage which is just over 59% for his career and that leads all active players.  That isn't something you usually see from tough guys.

He might not have to move again for at least another year since Konopka is under contract through next season.

His ties to the area make him an interesting story.  Konopka's  mother was born in Buffalo and he used to watch the Sabres play at the Aud while growing up in Southern Ontario.  Konopka used to sit in the oranges and enjoyed watching the legendary Gilbert Perreault skate circles around the opposition.

The other story of interest is his pet rabbitt, Hoppy, who has his own twitter account.  Konopka is apparently allergic to dogs and cats so he got a rabbit as a pet.  As the story goes, Konopka gets a specially made jersey for Hoppy for each team Konopka plays for.  No word on whether Hoppy will get a Sabres home or road jersey or perhaps the new third jersey.


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People : Gilbert Perreault