Jan 4, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Zenon Konopka (24) skates up ice against the New Jersey Devils at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres forward Zenon Konopka suspended 20 games

Buffalo Sabres forward Zenon Konopka has been suspended by the NHL 20 games after he tested positive for a banned substance.

Neither the NHL nor Konopka revealed what the substance was that he took that resulted in the failed test, but he did accept responsibility and said it was from an over-the-counter product.

“I want to make it clear that this violation occurred because I ingested a product that can be purchased over-the-counter and which, unknown to me, contained a substance that violated the program,” he said in a statement. “Unfortunately, I did not take the necessary care to ensure that the product did not contain a prohibited substance. I want to stress, however, that I did not take this substance for the purpose of enhancing my athletic performance.”

“I apologize to my teammates and to the Buffalo Sabres organization, as well as to my friends and family,” Konopka said in a statement. “I have learned a great deal from this experience, something I hope to be able to share with younger players. I will accept this suspension and continue to work hard to prepare for the 2014-15 season.”

The 33-year-old was claimed off waivers by Buffalo last January after being released from the Minnesota Wild and will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

One of the annual league leaders in penalty minutes had only three points last season but had 88 PIM in in 59 games and averaged 220.5 PIM over the last four seasons, but likely will find it difficult to sign with a new team this offseason knowing he is suspended for the first 20 games of the season.

Tags: Buffalo Sabres

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