Is this Sami Salo’s final season?

After Sami Salo successfully defended his hardest shot title at Canucks Superskills on Sunday, there was some confusion over just what he said to Dan Murphy in the ensuing interview. “Alex Edler has won this event the last couple of times,” Murphy asked, “Did you feel it was time to take it back?”

“I think he gave it back,” Salo said, smiling. “My career is ending, so he wanted to make me feel good.”

Salo’s words raised a number of eyebrows. Did he just announce his retirement?

Yes and no. No, he didn’t retire then and there, and Salo reiterated and softened the quote after the event, telling the media, “Alex knows I’m close to the end of my career so I think he gave it to me.” In short, this wasn’t an official announcement of any sort, especially since Salo’s healthy and will be in the lineup for Tuesday night’s tilt with the Edmonton Oilers.

However, it was a hint that this will more than likely be Salo’s last year in the NHL, something that can hardly be a secret inside the room. When it comes to the 2011-12 season, make no mistake: this one’s for Sami.

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