Skip to main content

Sami Salo

Sami Salo figures he suffered over forty injuries in his 15 year NHL career. Even he has lost count in a career that lasted nearly 900 games - despite the fact injuries only allowed him to play close to a full schedule in four seasons.

The worst injury had to be a ruptured testicle when he was hit by cannonading shot from the blue line.

Yes, Salo was wearing protective equipment but it did not matter this time.

And, yes, Salo did play the next game.

Aside from a snakebite - yes, you read that correctly - many of the other injuries were fairly routine by hockey standards - shoulder, foot, knee, back, finger, groin, Achilles tendon (which Sami claimed was the most painful), concussions, broken teeth - he checked them all off the list. The puck to the face that required metal plating to rebuild his nose must have hurt, too.

In the end it was a wrist injury that officially forced Salo off the ice. He missed the entire 2014-15 season and announced his retirement in the summer of 2015.

Salo was always an underrated defenseman.

The 6’3″, 215-pounder was all but an afterthought in the 1996 draft, as Ottawa selected him in the ninth round with the 239th overall pick - third from last overall.

He proved to be a steal. Though Salo appeared in only 195 of his 878 contests with the Senators, he would go on to become an important member of the Vancouver Canucks for many seasons.

Over nine seasons with the Canucks Salo was known for his over-powering slap shot that quarterbacked the Canucks vaunted power play. When healthy he was the straw that stirred the drink on the Vancouver blue line. When he was injured the team noticeably missed his presence. He became a very solid player despite average skating. He compensated for that nicely with smart positioning and superb anticipation, especially when pinching off the blue line. He was a wise puck mover out of his own zone and grew into a confident all around defender, utilizing his great size and strength.

Salo reached the Stanley Cup Final for the first and only time in his career in 2011, though the Canucks lost to the Boston Bruins in seven games. He set the franchise record for the fastest back-to-back goals by one player that postseason, scoring a pair of memorable power-play tallies 16 seconds apart in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final against the San Jose Sharks.

An unrestricted free agent after the 2011-12 season, Salo jumped at a two year deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Prior to the wrist surgery, he was relatively healthy for two full seasons, including the lockout shortened 2012-13 season.

Salo also had the opportunity to represent his native Finland in three Winter Olympics. He helped his country win the silver medal in 2006 and the bronze in both 2010 and 2014.

Not bad for a player that was never expected to make it in the first place.


Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M