Check out my blog http://nyi247.blogspot.com/
Follow me on Twitter @nyi247
I have been discussing Zenon Konopka's role on the Islanders for a pretty long time now and as the season wraps up there are more and more people discussing his future on Long Island.
There is no denying what he has brought to this team over the past season and how big of an impact he has had. He has established himself as a team leader, enforcer, and fan favorite. Put it this way, I NEVER buy a jersey with a players name on it. I now own a Konopka jersey! On 4/2 at the social networking event the Islanders are hosting, I was one of the first people to sign up for the event and I am receiving a signed puck by either Moulson or Grabner. I want a Konopka signed puck.
Even more impressive is his desire to be here on the island. He has made it very clear he would like to remain on this team because he, like the rest of us, knows what is coming in the next couple of seasons.
We all praise GM Snow for his waiver wire success, i.e. Michael Grabner. His free agent signings of Moulson and Montoya to name a few. We praise his ability to build through the draft, acquiring key guys like Tavares, Hamonic, Matt Martin, and El Nino. While all of the players mentioned above have tremendously helped this team begin to develop into winners, few if any have taken a leadership role like "Z" has.
He is the go to guy for crucial face offs. He is the most outspoken player on this team. He is the first to drop the gloves in defense of a team mate. He is also the first to do what he has to do to put some life back in the guys on a sluggish night. He is smart on the ice. It isn't very often he takes a foolish penalty because his emotions are running wild. He understands the game of hockey. This team hasn't seen chemistry like this in years. During an interview before the fight night against the Pens he called this team a family and family protects one another. Now all you hear about from the players is how close they are and when they are in the locker room they are a family.
This is my first season writing this blog and my 14th season following the team. I have never seen a single player make such an impact like he has. Some can argue he isn't a point producer. Big deal. We have other guys taking on that role. IF we lose Konopka, we will not be able to replace all he has brought to this team.
The ONLY reason I can see reluctance in signing him would be money. He isn't a big contract guy. If we can pay DP to blow games and sit on the bench at a price of over $4mil a year, I don't see how this guy can't land a 2 or 3 year deal at or under the $1mil mark/season.
Konopka was my inspiration to even start this blog. He makes games interesting. He adds a ton of pride to our roster and he has helped us command the respect from teams who would normally walk all over us. Up until this season I was a pretty big fan but would miss a game here and there because it was rare we had anything to cheer about. On the nights we did win, excitement was still a rare thing.
One season I bought a 10 game plan and used to hate actually going to the games. It was so freakin boring. This season I have been to about 15 games and if time allowed it, I would have went to 15 more.
Not signing this guy would be a huge mistake. Allowing him to walk is like telling the fan base you are rebuilding again because the unsung hero is gone. The excitement is gone, and a fan favorite just left the building. You cannot put a price tag on what he has done for this team of rookies. Leadership, protection and fun. What more can you ask for? So Mr. Snow, we have been doing the right things for you. Helping build the fan base through our blogs and helping bring attention to what is happening here. We don't get paid (well I don't), I can't even get a free autograph for what I have done. I ask, I get ignored. I post my blog, send the link to the Islanders on twitter only to get a direct message telling me to leave them off. I don't get a discount on a ticket. I get no recognition what so ever. I still continue to write and support these guys. So now I am asking you as a fan, a blogger and an Islanders loyalist, bring this guy back!