Kono Weighing His Options
Steve Konowalchuk stopped by Denver's Pepsi Center to watch his first NHL club host his last one Wednesday, four weeks after the Colorado Avalanche winger was forced to retire suddenly due to health concerns.
I caught up with Kono, a fan favorite when he played in Washington, between periods of the Capitals' 5-3 victory. He told me he's still weighing whether to accept an invitation to join Colorado's front office, perhaps as a scout.
"They've given me time to relax, kind of separate," said Kono, who was diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome, a genetic disease involving electrical conduction that can lead to irregular heart rhythms. "I'm just coming to games. Next year maybe something will open up."
"We're not sure what yet," he added. "They've kind of left it up to me. It's wide open. Whether it's helping [prospects], maybe scouting or coaching [prospects]."
On Tuesday night, Kono went to dinner with an old friend, Capitals goalie Olie Kolzig.
"It's kind of funny, you play with a lot players throughout your career, but you only keep in a touch with a few good friends," he said. "Maybe half a dozen. It's nice to see Olie is still on top of his game and has a lot years in front of him."
Drafted 58th overall in 1991 by the Capitals, Kono was dealt to Colorado on Oct. 22, 2003. He said one of his biggest regrets was not playing in Washington as a member of the Avalanche.
"It was kind of a bummer," Kono said.
He also said he sees brighter days ahead for the rebuilding Capitals, saying he's been impressed with Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin.
"I played with Semin a bit when he was coming up," he said. "His talent speaks for itself. As long as he can get the rest of his game going. ...Nothing needs to be said about Ovechkin. What you see is what you get. He's a phenomenal player, a special player."
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