Konowalchuk to have tests after EKG abnormality
DENVER -- The Avalanche opened training camp Friday and said forward Steve Konowalchuk will miss at least some practice time for undisclosed medical tests.
"Results from standard EKG testing done yesterday revealed an abnormality and further examination is required at this time to determine the exact nature of his condition," trainer Matt Sokolowski said. Other details were not disclosed.
Konowalchuk missed most of last season with a broken right wrist. He was off to the best start of his 14-year NHL career with 15 points through 21 games when he got hurt Nov. 21. He missed the final 61 games of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs.
Colorado will have a much different look this season. They traded scoring forward Alex Tanguay to Calgary, lost stalwart defenseman Rob Blake to the Kings and feisty grinder Dan Hinote signed with St. Louis.
"That's the league today," coach Joel Quenneville said. "You expect there's going to be some turnover and some new blood. Last year, we had some significant changes and some question marks going into the season. This year, I think it's a little clearer. We've lost some people who have been here for big years."
One player looking for a fresh start is goalie Jose Theodore, who had an injury-plagued season filled with off-the-ice headlines before Colorado was bounced in the second round of the playoffs by a fast and deep Anaheim team.
"Every year you have something to prove," Theodore said Thursday. "As a goalie, there's always a lot of pressure, but this is the challenge that you live for as a professional. When I got traded here, it was kind of like a ray of light."
"The way he prepared himself physically, he looks like a different person," Quenneville said. "His attitude seems refreshed; he seems energized, and we're expecting big things from him."
Theodore, a former Hart Trophy winner, missed three months last season with a broken heel and then tested positive for a banned substance in a pre-Olympic drug test because he had been using a prescription for a hair-growth stimulant. He was also photographed holding hands with heiress Paris Hilton at a VIP party in Toronto, leading to a stir since he and girlfriend Stephanie Cloutier are the parents of an infant girl.
Theodore said he has purchased a home in the Denver area with his family.
"It was really important for me and my family to be here and settle," he said. "Now I have one thing to concentrate on, doing my job. I don't have 10 things to think about, just showing up for practice and working hard and playing well."
Theodore was recovering from his injury when the Avalanche acquired him March 8 from Montreal for goalie David Aebischer. He posted a 1-3-1 record with a 3.04 goals-against average in the final five regular-season games. He went 4-5 with the same GAA in the playoffs.
Teammates are looking forward to seeing what Theodore can do with a full offseason to prepare.
"I've been seeing what a healthy Theodore can do right now, and he looks unbelievable," defenseman John-Michael Liles said. "Everybody knew what he was capable of. Obviously, coming in late last year after the injury, that was pretty tough, and he played remarkable for us.
"I see him now and he seems like a totally different goalie. I think everybody is looking forward to getting into game situations and he'll show what he can do."
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press