Konopka ready for physical affair against Flames

by Aaron Vickers / NHL.com

CALGARY – Zenon Konopka heard about Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley challenging his team to be tougher to play against.

Set to play in his first game since Feb. 14, Konopka sees that as a challenge of his own.

“It’s a situation where he needs to spark his team,” Konopka said. “It’s one of those games I’m excited to play and I’m excited for tonight. I wish it was a 7 o’clock start instead of an 8 o’clock start.”

No stranger to the physical side of the game with 52 penalty minutes in 14 games, the 32-year-old is excited at the prospect of some rough play tonight.

“This is old school hockey and this is the hockey I love,” he said. “It should be a lot of fun tonight. I think it’s going to be a great game for the League and the fans as well, to see a lot of physical play.”

Rookie Mikael Granlund is expected to come out of the lineup to make way for Konopka.

Here are the projected lines the Wild are expected to roll out against the Flames on Saturday night.

Zach PariseMikko KoivuDany Heatley

Jason ZuckerMatt CullenDevin Setoguchi

Pierre-Marc BouchardKyle BrodziakCharlie Coyle

Mike RuppZenon KonopkaTorrey Mitchell

Ryan SuterJonas Brodin

Clayton StonerTom Gilbert

Nate ProsserJared Spurgeon

Niklas Backstrom

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Mikael Granlund, Justin Falk

Injured: Cal Clutterbuck, Josh Harding