Tag:Zenon Konopka
Posted on: November 7, 2011 10:35 pm
Edited on: November 7, 2011 10:41 pm
 

Ex-WADA head buys Laraque; Roenick: 'No steroids'

By Brian Stubits

Former NHL enforcer Georges Laraque opened up a can of worms this weekend when his book The Story of the NHL's Unlikeliest Tough Guy came out. I mean, he damaged the good name of the Great One, saying Wayne Gretzky wasn't good, let alone great when it came to coaching.

Oh, and something about players taking steroids too.

Yes, Laraque dropped the "S word" and now the conversation is open. That's not say it shouldn't be. Quite frankly, it should have been a bigger talk for years in hockey, much the same as it has been in baseball. But for some reason, it has been a very quiet conversation.

It is a conversation that former World Anti-Doping Agency head Dick Pound started a little bit back in 2005. That's when he estimated about 1/3 of player in the NHL were doping. The numbers seems a bit high, even for many of the cynics. So it comes as no surprise that Pound isn't ... um ... surprised by Laraque's claim that players are doping, more than the enforcers.

"Anybody who pays attention to these things already knew that," Pound told the Canadian Press on Monday. "The only organization in denial was the NHL.

"When you see some of the stuff occurring on the rinks these days, you don't know whether you're dealing with people who are playing the game in a steroid rage or not, but some of these head shots are not accident."

Pound continued by discussing the NHL's drug-testing policies, something a colleague described to me as the "most lax PED policy in pro sports."

"They still don't test in the off-season," Pound said. "If you've got an IQ higher than room temperature, you know they can do this program for a number of weeks and have the stuff all flushed out of your system and still get the benefit of it.

"If you know you're not getting tested before the season begins, it's an invitation to do it in the offseason."

That's the biggest criticism of all, the dark period of testing. From the end of the season until it begins again, players aren't under any kind of microscope.

But not everybody agrees with Laraque and Pound on this matter. We point you to naive crowd over in blue corner, led by the always opinionated Jeremy Roenick. Not only does he not believe the better players are doping, he doesn't think ANYBODY is doping. This is what he told The Score in a recent interview.

"I think the steroids, I think he was referring to two different things, one, I think maybe in the late 80′s/early 90′s when the fighters were as prevalent, they were a dime a dozen, there might have been a little bit more of…something to happen. I can tell you right now that steroids is not an issue in the National Hockey League whatsoever. There is no steroids whatsoever, across the board in the National Hockey League."

That's quite a stand to take. You can probably tell by my tone that I don't agree. Maybe I have grown to be one of those cynics, but I just can't believe that nobody is using PEDs in hockey. But there has only been one player caught under the current testing framework, Sean Hill with the Islanders back in 2006. The cynic says that shows how bad the testing policy is. The clean-believers say that shows the game is clean.

If any of the players currently in the game have seen them, they at least aren't saying as much.

"I was in the dressing room pre-lockout for training camp. Never heard [about it] nor saw it," Maple Leafs veteran defenseman Dion Phaneuf said. "I've never, ever seen it."

Senators enforcer Zenon Konopka was even more vocal about it, even taking a shot at Laraque.

"I don't know what his reasons are to define it as a problem, but it's like most things in life that people don't get enough information and shoot their mouth off about something before they get all their facts," Konopka said.

"I think Georges probably should have done a little more fact-finding himself before making comments that maybe he'll regret."

Are we headed down a path that will take hockey in front of Congress? Probably not. But you better believe that if nothing else, Laraque just reopened the conversation.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.


Posted on: October 29, 2011 5:24 pm
Edited on: October 29, 2011 5:26 pm
 

Zenon Konopka ejected for boarding

By: Adam Gretz

Ottawa Senators forward Zenon Konopka was issued a minute major for boarding New York Rangers forward Artem Anisimov, along with being ejected, early in the secoind period on Saturday afternoon.

Here's a look at the play.



That's a tough call. A boarding call is probably justified, but the five-minute major and a game seems like it could have been the result of Anisimov appearing to be injured (he eventually returned to the game during the ensuing power play). One of the key parts of the boarding rule (rule 41) is that there is an onus on the player delivering the hit to ensure that his opponent is not in a vulnerable position. The very next sentence, however, also puts an onus on the other player to not put himself in a vulnerable position, and I think an argument can be made that Anisimov may have done just that.

The Rangers took advantage of the five minutes of power play time and scored a pair of goals thanks to Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: July 4, 2011 1:37 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 12:55 pm
 

Kaberle heads list of free agents still unsigned

NHL free agency is unilke any other sport's. Within the first few hours -- first day at the latest -- the majority of the free agents, let alone impact players, are off the market. But not all of them.

Atop the list of players still looking for work is Tomas Kaberle. A bit maligned in Boston for the team's power-play struggles, it's not as if Kaberle isn't still good at what he does. Last season for the he had four goals and 43 assists.

It is still no foregone conclusion that he won't be back in Beantown next year. Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli said before free agency opened that Kaberle would test the waters, but that they would continue negotiations.

Or perhaps he could be on the radar of the Rangers down the coast. New York still needs a little bit of help on the back end and Kaberle could be a nice fit. If he doesn't make sense cap wise (the Rangers have $15 million but multiple restricted free agents left to sign) then they could stick with Bryan McCabe at a cheaper rate.

Regardless, there is still some useful talent to be had. Here's a look at the best available.

Forwards

Jason Arnott: He's a bit long in the tooth, but Arnott can be a solid veteran center for any team in the market. Scored 17 goals with 14 assists last season between New Jersey and Washington.

Jamie Langenbrunner: It will be interesting to see what role teams think Langenbrunner can fill at this point. Saw a drop of 19 points between 2009-10 and 2010-11.

Antti Miettinen: He has a little bit more youth than most of the players still up for grabs and he can provide some decent scoring. Last season with the Wild he had 16 goals, the season before he had a career-high 20. However, he could be KHL-bound.

Vaclav Prospal: Prospal played only 29 games last season due to injury, but was pretty darn productive in that time for the Rangers when the 36-year-old had nine goals and 14 assists.

Sergei Samsonov: Samsonov found a little spark after being traded to Florida at the end of last season, tallying three goals and 11 assists in 20 games for the Panthers. There is probably a home on a third line somewhere for him.

Teemu Selanne: The suspense here isn't where he will play, it is if he will play. Selanne will sign with the Ducks if he decides he'll play another season, if not it's off to the world of retirement. Still very productive with 31 goals and 49 assists last season.

Cory Stillman: Like many of the guys on the list, he is a veteran with plenty of experience but can still wield the stick a little. Stillman had 12 goals with 27 assists last season between Carolina and Florida.

Nikolai Zherdev: Zherdev has youth on his side compared to the rest here at just 26 years of age. Didn't have an incredibly productive year (and played just 56 games) with Philly last season, but with an increased role he could show more of the form that saw him score 23 and 26 goals the previous two seasons.

Defensemen

Scott Hannan: Hannan is a solid own-end defenseman who will find a home somewhere for teams looking to lock down in the back end. Because of his lack of offense (one goal, 10 assists last season) he should come at a pretty cheap price for whoever signs him.

Tomas Kaberle: After spending 11 seasons in Toronto, Kaberle could be joining his third team in three years if he doesn't return to Boston. He is still young enough (32) that he can get a pretty nice contract from some team.

Bryan McCabe: One of the better power-play captains a few years ago, McCabe still does a good job commanding the special teams. He won't command anywhere near the same contract he's coming off of and should be an affordable offensive option. Still very possible he could return to the Rangers.

Brent Sopel: Like Hannan, he's more of a defenseman's defenseman, a guy that will block shots and do his best to keep the puck out of the net. Teams interested in him won't be in the market for a top-four defenseman, but that doesn't mean he has no value, his plus-6 last season in 71 games for the Habs evidence.

Goaltenders

Ray Emery: I thought Emery might be one of the goalies teams would target, but now he and the rest of the guys on this list are left in a tough spot as the goaltender market dried up pretty quickly and the need isn't big. But Emery should find a home.

Pascal Leclaire: Leclaire could be out of luck for NHL jobs, perhaps waiting until the middle of the year when some team is looking for depth. The concern with him is the injury history as he has struggled to stay healthy for his whole career.

Marty Turco: After years as the starter in Dallas, Turco has now been pretty much relegated to a backup, playing last season behind Corey Crawford in Chicago. Could be a midseason acquisition for teams searching for some depth and experience.

By Brian Stubits

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.


 
 
 
 
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