Every team wanted a Kono

In a sense, I'm glad Steve Konowalchuk retired from the Colorado Avalanche on Friday. I can only imagine what might have happened had he played this year.

Konowalchuk, 33, was diagnosed recently with Long QT syndrome, a genetic disease that can lead to irregular heart rhythms, according to media outlets. Had he played, the strenuous extertion that he displayed shift after shift in his 13 seasons might have triggered a incident, much like Jiri Fischer's heart-related near-death experience last season in Detroit.

Granted, he wasn't known as a top-line scorer, averaging a half-point a game (396 points in 790 games) during his career. But it was his dogged determination that defined his game and made him a valuable player with the Avs and the Washington Capitals, the team that drafted him in 1991.

I'm sure many general managers and coaches around the league wanted a player with Konowalchuk's abilities and grit in their lineups or, at the least, asked a couple of their players to emulate.

After Friday's announcement, I'm certain that courage and intelligence will also be used to describe his career.


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