Skip to content

Sami Salo faced a long, painful road to that two-goal Game 4 performance

May 24, 2011, 10:00 AM EDT

Sami Salo AP

Considering how improbable it was for the Vancouver Canucks to score three 5-on-3 goals in a two minute span, perhaps it only makes sense that the last two of those goals came from such an improbable source.

There were more than a few times this season when many people though Sami Salo‘s 13-year NHL career was over. Salo himself pondered retirement during the painful recovery process from a ruptured Achilles tendon. In many ways, Salo has been the Wile E. Coyote of hockey players, stumbling through injuries that have been random, painful and … yes, a bit comical (see: testicle, ruptured left).

As rough and fast a sport as hockey is, Salo has been one of those guys who just cannot catch a break, unless it’s in the more literal “broken bone” sense. Just take a look at how Salo suffered that ruptured Achilles tendon last summer, as he told Mark Spector of Sportsnet.ca.

“It’s a routine we have. We play every Thursday floor ball (in Finland), a very popular sport in Scandinavia. All the guys from all over Europe. I got a D-to D-pass, took a hard sprint, and just flew face first. Nobody was even close. I just fell down. The Achilles had ruptured. Somebody said it sounded like a shotgun.

“Went to the private clinic, where the doctor said it was most likely completely torn.”

It’s easy to treat Salo like a walking, hard-shooting punchline. Yet after you hear more about his resiliency in the face of a demoralizing and painful injury, it’s also easy to root for the Finnish blueliner.

“It is like climbing Mount Everest,” he said. “Very small steps from Day 1 after the surgery, all the way up to the time in December when I started skating. You didn’t see any progress on a daily basis, even sometimes on a weekly basis.

“When it actually happened it wasn’t painful at all. It was just a weird feeling.”

Then again, maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that Salo remains borderline unflappable. He fashioned an outstanding NHL career for himself despite long odds. A 13-year career isn’t half-bad for the 239th overall pick of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft and two power-play goals in one game isn’t too shabby for a guy who wasn’t far from retirement, either.

Perhaps the biggest question might be: would he injure himself while lifting the Stanley Cup? We might just get the chance to find out.

  1. govtminion - May 24, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    I know I figured we’d seen the last of him earlier this season- injury prone, for sure, but I’ll give him this; Sami Salo must be made of pretty tough stuff to have been able to come back from injuries like those and make a respectable NHL career despite it all.

    …And that said, the end of the article gave me a visual of his shoulder dislocating from the weight of the Cup, and dropping it on his head as a result, so now my co-workers think I’m insane for laughing at my desk. Thanks, PHT.

Sign up for Fantasy hockey

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. J. Quick (1141)
  2. N. Horton (1004)
  3. C. Giroux (917)
  4. B. Bishop (899)
  5. E. Malkin (850)