Before Zenon Konopka stepped on the ice for practice at Nassau Coliseum yesterday, his phone was buzzing.
WIth his name quickly gaining momentum as a likely rental--some reports said a trade sending him to Anaheim was imminent--he received several texts. From friends, ex-teammates, and even some members of the media. All assuming he'd already been moved and wishing him good luck.
"I'm a person that has been through a lot of different situations, but I underestimated the magnitude of the trade deadline when you're on the hot seat," Konopka said.
Konopka was aware his name would be bandied about. GM Garth Snow sat down with him before the deadline and was candid about exploring options in what Konopka said was "a classy move."
Rumors began to fly Monday morning and Konopka assured as many people as he could that when he went out for practice he was still a New York Islander. He tried to keep up with all the inquiries throughout the day, but at one point just got "overwhelmed."
After practice, he hunkered down at home, turned on TSN to watch the frenzied day unfold. When the 3 p.m. deadline passed, he was still an Islander. And glad that was the case.
"I've said since Day One that it's my priority to stay here and be part of this team's future," Konopka said. "That's still my priority."