Steve Konowalchuk was one of those rare elite role players that was impossible for any hockey fan not to admire.
Konowalchuk was equal parts of heart and intelligence. He was a courageous digger and mucker, working hard for every goal and every win, using every ounce energy on every shift. Yet his understanding of the game made him a brilliant player in his own right. He was a defensive genius, a regular on the PK especially when 2 men down.
He was an impact player, knowing when to change the pace of a game with an energy shift or a big hit. Simply put, he was a coach's dream - great character, great work ethic and a complete team player. His offensive game was anything but fancy and his totals never grand, but there was not a coach in the league who would not take Steve Konowalchuk exactly as he was.
Best known as a long time Washington Capital, Konowalchuk finished his career with the Colorado Avalanche. His career ended in a bitter form of irony. This heart and soul player was forced off the ice by doctors after a rare heart disorder named QT syndrome was discovered.
The Salt Lake City-born Konowalchuk totaled 171 goals and 225 assists in 790 NHL games. He also played for the U.S.A in two World Cups and two World Championships.