Kariya may play next week, Konowalchuk deal long planned

The Avs did not place LW Paul Kariya on injured reserve. His wrist is not injured to the extent previously thought. He could be back in the line up within a week.

In an interview in Friday’s Denver Post, Pierre Lacroix explained that the Avs have been trying to obtain Konowalchuk since the end of last season. “After last season, we called and got involved in talking with them. They weren’t ready, because he was kind of their bread-and-butter and blood guy. He had been there a long time.”

Lacroix described Konowalchuk as “a rare kind of player, a rare blend. He has experience and can play on the first line and can kill a penalty, play on a checking line. He’s that kind of guy. There are not many of those guys.”

Lacroix further explained why highly touted prospect Jonas Johansson (2002 first round pick) was expendable. “Johansson came to two camps, got an injury, and the overall consensus of our group was that there is a risk factor with him. We acquired a third-round pick in this deal, and we would have lost him for nothing. We were not going to sign him. That was our decision.”