The annual Every Goal series will run Monday to Thursday through July and August, remembering every goal scored by the Canucks, player by player. Today, we take a look at Sami “Han Shot First” Salo.
I’m probably not Sami Salo’s biggest fan; after all, Chloe Ezra exists. But I loved the Finnish MacInnis all the same. He was a quiet and quirky character who went through some ridiculous struggles with injuries and yet never once complained. He was a steady presence on the Canucks’ blueline for a decade and I am still sad that he’s gone. And, by God, he could shoot the puck.
Salo left the Canucks as the franchise leader in powerplay goals from a defenceman thanks to his legendary slap shot that was repeatedly clocked at over 100 mph. In his farewell tour in the 2011-12 season, Salo added 9 goals to his totals with the Canucks, including a whopping 7 powerplay goals, which tied him for 4th in the league among defencemen. Salo was the go-to shooter in 5-on-3 situations, which he treated like a shooting gallery.
He may be pale as a ghost and look like Boo Radley, but Sami Salo could score. The following videos prove it.
The last thing a goaltender wants to see is Sami Salo striding into a slap shot from the hash marks. After a scrambled faceoff and a flurry on the near side, Cody Hodgson backhands the puck blindly into open space. Salo, like dark matter, filled that space and exerted a strong gravitational force on the puck to send it flying past Devan Dubnyk.
Salo’s second goal of the season came in the same game and was one of only two that he scored at even-strength. Chris Higgins creates a turnover with a strong forecheck, allowing Mikael Samuelsson to pick up the puck and find Salo with it, who flings it past the screening Higgins and Dubnyk. It’s important to note that this was the infamous Nugent-Hopkins “hattrick” game, which distracted from Old Man Salo’s 2 goals and an assist that actually led to victory for the Canucks.
Salo is also the franchise leader in overtime and gamewinning goals for a defenceman as he passed Mattias Ohlund in both those categories. This unstoppable blast from the point on a 4-on-3 powerplay moved him past Ohlund for overtime winners.
Salo was so effective in 5-on-3 situations because he had so much room to load up his shot. This beauty rings melodically off the post and in past another Chris Higgins screen. I can hear Rob Scuderi desperately praying Please don’t hit me, please don’t hit me as he half-heartedly skates out to block the shot.
Salo’s only other even-strength goal on the season almost looks like a powerplay goal, given how much room the Sedins and Burrows create for both Salo and Edler at the point. Rostislav Klesla plays the role of Chris Higgins, completely screening Mike Smith. This goal moved him past Ohlund for the franchise lead in gamewinning goals from a defenceman.
This slap shot is about placement more than power: Salo barely follows through on the shot as he ensures that he gets all of Henrik’s fluttering pass, but he puts it perfectly over Price’s port side on the powerplay.
This is, quite possibly, the worst clearing attempt in the history of killing penalties. Matthew Lombardi has a full 2 seconds (an eternity in hockey) to consider the best way to send the puck the length of the ice and lands on uselessly swiping at the puck like he’s Robbie Turcotte. Predictably, after some pretty passing, Salo one-times a bomb past Jonas Gustavsson. Appropriate, considering Lombardi handled the puck like a grenade.
This isn’t a typical Salo goal on a 5-on-3, but it shows just how savvy Salo truly is, as he sneaks down from the point while the Sedins and Kesler work the puck around down low. Unlike Shawn Horcoff, Henrik finds Salo in front of the net. I’m not going to lie, it makes me happy to see the Canucks score with Ben Eager in the box. Eager is a male nipple: a useless tit.
His final goal as a Canuck is vintage-Salo. After a nice zone entry by Henrik and Kesler on the powerplay, Henrik sets up Salo at the point with Burrows screening in front. Salo rips the puck through the traffic like a cab driver in Hong Kong. Trust me, I speak from personal experience: one of the most frightening experiences in my life.Tags: Every Goal, every goal 2011-12, Sami Salo