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Canucks bits: Sami Salo almost retired, Roger Neilson statue planned

Apr 5, 2011, 12:15 AM EDT

Vancouver Canucks v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Five Getty Images

The Vancouver Canucks were idle like most of the teams in the NHL on Monday, but the Presidents’ Trophy winning team still managed to generate a couple headlines. Let’s take a look at those two stories.

Neilson earned the nickname “Captain Video” for pioneering the use of game tapes in his coaching regimen. He coached in 1,000 games in his career, working with 10 different NHL teams (including the Canucks) in some capacity. Neilson died in June 2003. He is in the Hockey Hall of Fame under the builders category. (Source: The Associated Press.)

  • In other Canucks news, hard-shooting defenseman Sami Salo told The Canadian Press that he thought the Achilles injury he suffered last summer would end his career. Salo missed the first 52 games of the 2010-11 season with the injury (plus training camp), but he was able to make his return on February 12th.

Here are Salo’s thoughts on recovering from the injury and trying to get back into game form in the middle of NHL competition.

“This one has been the toughest, not necessarily physically but for sure mentally,” Salo said after the Canucks practised Monday. “It was so serious I was worried I wouldn’t be able to function properly.”

(snip)

One of the biggest challenges for Salo was getting back to game speed. He was like a car trying to enter the fast lane of a freeway.

“The first month was really tough,” he said. “Anybody can say the same thing if they have missed a long time with an injury.

“You can’t just turn a switch and say you will be back at the same level you were before. There was a long time adjusting.”

Salo’s fragility has been a bit of a punchline over the years, but it’s impressive than the veteran defenseman keeps coming back despite a steady stream of injuries. Perhaps he’ll end up with a Stanley Cup for his hard work?

  1. aherna - Apr 5, 2011 at 4:18 AM

    one element of this post is absurd. roger neilson was actually the head coach of the canucks in 1982-84. he even coached the canucks to the stanley cup finals in 1982, when the club was swept by the islanders. neilson certainly rates as one of the great unsung coaches in nhl history. however, he wasn’t just an assistant coach for the canucks as this post suggests. quite an error for a site that claims to be an authoritative source.

    • abrienza428 - Apr 5, 2011 at 10:00 AM

      Calm down. At least they know how to use the shift key when starting a new sentence.

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