Avs defenseman proves to be ironman

By JAKE SCHALLER THE GAZETTE Updated: January 25, 2006 at 12:00 am • Published: January 25, 2006
DENVER - Sacrificing one’s body on the ice doesn’t seem like the ideal way for a player to stay healthy. But it has worked for Avalanche defenseman Karlis Skrastins. Skrastins leads the NHL in blocked shots — he had 136 heading into Tuesday’s game against Calgary — but he also leads the league in consecutive games played. Skrastins has played in 401 straight games, having not missed a contest since February 2000. “He’s a warrior-type player,” Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. “He’s very competitive, plays through everything, gets in the way of shots.” “The guy’s going to put his face first for the team,” teammate Patrice Brisebois said. Skrastins has proven to be a steal for the Avalanche, which acquired him July 30, 2003, in a trade with Nashville, giving up only “future considerations” — which ended up being a third-round draft choice in 2004. Heading into Tuesday’s game, Skrastins was averaging 21 minutes, 36 seconds per game — third-most on the team. And most of the time he’s on the ice, he’s matching up with opponents’ top threats. Wolski OHL Player of the Week Wojtek Wolski, Colorado’s first selection (21st overall) in the 2004 Entry Draft, was named the Ontario Hockey League’s Player of the Week. Wolski, who is with the Brampton Battalion, recently capped a record-setting stretch in which he scored six goals and notched 13 points in three games, including seven points (four goals and three assists) on Jan. 22 against Erie. Wolski, who was the OHL’s Player of the Month for December, leads Brampton with 64 points in 33 games (22 goals, 42 assists). Wolski began the season with the Avalanche and had two goals and four assists in nine games.
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