Puck Daddy - NHL

Excuse the whimsical headline, but Zenon Konopka(notes) declaring that "I'm going to take the poster off my bedroom door" of Mario Lemieux takes Mario's 'take my puck and go home' threat from Sunday and eclipses it on the absurdist threat scale.

Mario better watch out, or 'Z' might take all his Mario McFarlane toys, put them in a pillow case and throw them into the river, while he crosses out all the '66's' on his Trapper Keeper and writes '99' instead ...

In all seriousness, the outgoing New York Islanders grinder/pugilist offered a stout retort of Lemieux's comments about the Pittsburgh Penguins/New York Islanders melee and subsequent punishment from the NHL; comments that, the Canadian Press reports, Mario won't be fined for issuing.

Today in Ottawa, Konopka called the Penguins owner out of touch with today's game while defending the Islanders' right to seek revenge.

From the Ottawa Citizen:

"I can't believe (Mario) is so far removed from the game that he doesn't realize in the heat of the moment what happens. We're trying to keep our best players on the ice."

When it came to Trevor Gillies(notes), Konopka played the wife and kids card for sympathy:

"You look at Trevor Gillies. ... He's a first time offender. He hits a guy, throws a few punches, he gets a nine-game suspension. The guy's got a wife, two kids and plays in the East Coast Hockey League and AHL most of his career and now he's going to lose $35,000. And it's not right."

Finally, he believes there's really no difference between the Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins brawl that everyone loved and Penguins/Islanders brawl that no one really did:

"Montreal and Boston, they play a game and it's great old-time hockey, it's ‘wow, this is awesome, the rivalry' ... Then we have a game and now we're getting crucified for it. We're doing everything possible to keep guys in the lineup, to fight for points, to do everything we can to win hockey games and everybody keeps taking shots at us. Talk to our trainers (about) how many man games we've lost. We've lost 360 games to injuries and now we're getting crucified because we're trying to have some retribution for a couple of our guys getting knocked out. It's tough for us to deal with."

Just so we're clear: The Islanders sought "some retribution for a couple of our guys getting knocked out," are now having trouble because (a) they're being vilified and (b) the NHL generally frown upon sucker punches and leaping headshots as a form of retribution.

Keep on keepin' on, Zenon.

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