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Zenon Konopka

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Status: Tampa Bay Lightning right winger

: 6-foot-1 WT: 213 pounds

Jan. 2, 1981 In: Niagara Falls, Ont.

First Hockey Memory:
"I was four-years-old playing with eight-year-old kids. Never touched the puck the whole season.”

Hockey Inspiration:
"My Dad (Zenon Sr.) was an inspiration in my life, not really hockey. And a lot of players growing up – (Mario) Lemieux and (Wayne) Gretzky. Obviously (Doug) Gilmour. Mike Ricci."

"Z, Konopper, Z-Pac, Zen, Konops, Polish Prince, Polish Punisher, Polish Power."

Favorite Movies:
"Casino, Blow, Rounders, Shawshank Redemption is in there. Put a normal one in there (laughs)."

Last Book Read:
"Lance Armstrong's autobiography."

Hobbies/Leisure Activities:
"Poker, playing sports, watching sports, billiards, wrestling (laughs)."

First Job:
"Grew up on a farm, working on a farm. But my first real job that I got a paycheck for was a liquidation store salesperson. In St. Catharines (Ont.). I took Sundays at the liquidation store from $500 too $2,000 in a matter of three months. True story."

First Car:
"Geo Metro (red). Had a few bumps, dents. I put a few more dents into it. At one point, the driver door didn't open. So I'd show up at the restaurant or club and I'd either have to go through the window or the passenger door. That was pretty cool."

Current Car:
"No car. I'm in between cars right now."

Favorite Meal:
"I love to eat. There's a lot of favorite meals. Anything from steak to Pad Thai to pizza."

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:
"Chocolate chip cookie dough."

Greatest Sports Moment:
"Probably winning the OHL Cup; the OHL championship (with Ottawa 67's in 2001). We were big underdogs. To win it like that was pretty big."

Most Painful Moment:
"Pucks off my face. (When?) Twice. Once in Wheeling, West Virginia my first year in the East Coast (League). One-timer off my nose. Syracuse, New York – slapshot tipped off my forehead."

Pre-game Feeling
: "Excitement. Energy. Energy and excitement."

Favorite Uniforms:
"Oakland Raiders. (No, in NHL?) No. Oakland Raiders have the nicest uniforms."

Favorite Arena:
"I like to play in Montreal; electricity of the building. The town. It's just all rounded by hockey. There's nothing like it."

Funny Hockey Memory:
"Hmm. When we were in the East Coast Hockey League we won the East Coast Championship when I was in Boise, Idaho (2004). And every round that we played a team, we dressed up as that team. We played the Gwinnett Gladiators, so when we went to the airport me and my buddy (Lance Galbraith) dressed up as gladiators. When we played the Florida Everglades, we dressed up as crocodile hunters. It was pretty funny."

Closest Hockey Friends:
" Lance Galbraith's one of them for sure. David Cornacchia – he's in Europe. (With Tampa?) Stephane Veilleux, Jeff Halpern, Todd Fedoruk."

Funniest Player Encountered:
"Todd Fedoruk. He's just hilarious. Actually, Stephane Veilleux. I'm in between two of the funniest players here (in the dressing room). Stephane Veilleux on my right side, Todd Fedoruk on my left. And there's not a day that goes by that one of those guys doesn't put a smile on my face."

Toughest Competitor:
"Wow. Simon Gamache. He played in Milwaukee when I was in Cincinnati. Real big battles with him. Now he's in Switzerland. That's the first one that comes at me."

Strangest Game:
"Windsor. Power went out. Couldn't get it back on halfway through the game. We had to replay the game a couple days later. Pretty strange."

Embarrassing Hockey Memory:
"Losing Game 7 in the AHL against Hershey (with Portland in 2005-06), double overtime. We came back from a 3-1 deficit. We had (Ryan) Getzlaf, (Corey) Perry and (Dustin) Penner for Game 7 and we lost in double overtime…Also, we were playing in Alaska in the East Coast (with Idaho Steelheads). I scored to end the series with a minute left. And I got hit with a lot of beer bottles and fish heads and fish and all my equipment was covered with beer and fish heads. Passionate fans in Alaska (smiles)."

Most Memorable Goal
: "Hmm. I'd say that Alaska goal that I directed in with my foot after I got cross-checked in the face. I was cut for stitches. I scored. Then I got pelted with beer and fish heads. Probably the most memorable."

Favorite Players To Watch:
"I like watching (Henrik) Zetterberg. Pretty good player to watch. Steve Downie is always entertaining to watch. (Why?) Because you never know what he's gonna do out on the ice. Strange individual (smiles). Got a few screws loose."

Personality Qualities Most Admired:
"Loyalty. Passion."

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