Today in the Every Goal series, we look at defenseman Sami Salo and his three goals. Yes, three. You may recall that Salo’s season was severely shortened by a torn achilles tendon he suffered playing floorball in the summer. (Having played floorball, I can tell you that the risk of injury is probably higher playing backgammon, but leave it to Sami Salo to find a way.)

At his age, and considering the severity of his injury, it was downright courageous of Salo to work back into playing shape instead of just calling it a career. Truth is, as frustrated as Canuck nation was with yet another freak Salo injury, he had to be even moreso. While the fans suffer the annoyance of watching Salo injure himself again and again, Salo suffers the slightly higher annoyance of feeling these frequent  injuries, and the discouragement that comes with them. That Salo has an entry in this series at all is admirable.

Furthermore, considering what he went through, Salo’s scoring rate last season was actually pretty decent. His .11 goals per game rate was third among Canuck defenseman, behind Alex Edler and Christian Ehrhoff (or fourth, if you count Lee Sweatt’s .33). He also scored two goals during his AHL conditioning stint and another three in the postseason. Clearly, Salo’s scoring touch remains.

But don’t take my word for it. Let every goal Salo scored last season be your guide.

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1 Feb. 24 vs the St. Louis Blues

Salo’s greatest weapon has always been his shot. Nobody on the Canucks is as dangerous with a little room to skate into a one-timer (or a lot of room). But it isn’t just that his shot is hard (it is, although not as hard as Alex Edler’s); it’s that Salo is great at reading a cycle and knowing when to drop down from the point and give the down-low forward the juicy passing option. Chances are he honed this skill playing with the Sedins, but he puts it to great effect here with the fourth line, as Tanner Glass finds him just inside the right circle.

2 Mar. 8 vs the Phoenix Coyotes

Though the shot may be different, this play is almost identical to the one before it. After some strong zone pressure gets the Coyotes running around, Salo sees a seam and steps in from the blueline. As usual, the Sedins find him, and he wrists a shot off Michal Roszival and past Ilya Bryzgalov from just inside the right circle.

That said, the real fun in this clip is watching the Sedins victimize Shane Doan (#19) with their wizardous wiles. As the Canucks enter the zone, Doan looks to take a run at Henrik, but Hank makes a drop pass to Daniel and speeds away. Then, Doan turns towards Daniel, but Dank shiftily avoids the Coyotes forward with a crisp pass back to Henrik, then beats him to the slot. Henrik finds Daniel there with Doan trying to recover the ground he’s lost, but Daniel gets the shot off, and Doan glides through to no-man’s land. After Bryzgalov makes the save, Henrik picks up the puck and moves it Salo, who has moved into the area Doan vacated while he was chasing the twins.

3 Mar. 10 vs the San Jose Sharks

And here’s that classic Salo one-timer again, used to perfection against the San Jose Sharks. Little did the Sharks know that this goal was just a taste of things to come. If I’m Todd McLellan, I’m pulling a Tonya Harding and hiring a guy to shatter Salo’s kneecap. Or I guess maybe he could just wait for the wind to do it.

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3 comments

  1. Mary
    August 9, 2011

    My favourite Canuck. :)

    I am ridiculously happy that he’ll be back next year. Thank you for including him in this retrospective, PITB!!

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    • peanutflower
      August 9, 2011

      Yes, thanks! He deserves a Cup win.

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  2. Rituro
    August 9, 2011

    Years ago, I decided to allow Game-Winning Goals (GWG) in my Yahoo! Fantasy Pool on a trial basis. My Dad cashed in on that category and won by a landslide thanks to, shock of all shocks, a reasonably healthy Sami Salo.

    Ever since that year, Salo has been my Dad’s favourite Canuck, injuries be damned. If Salo uncorks a cannon and scores, my phone will immediately ring and the first thing I hear after answering is, “SAMMMIIIIII!”

    So, on behalf of my Dad, stay healthy and keep pounding those shots at the net, Sammmiiiiii!

    (And no, I did not continue GWG as a stat in the pool after that season, despite repeated lobbying from Dad.)

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