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Sami Salo Hospitalized After Suffering Painful Groin Injury

May 10, 2010 – 11:00 AM
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Bruce Ciskie

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Despite an impressive 4-1 win Sunday that kept them alive in the Western Conference semifinals, the Vancouver Canucks are worried.

While they looked every bit the Cup contender many people pegged them as when the playoffs started, it was a costly win in Chicago.

At the end of the first period, talented defenseman Sami Salo blocked a shot with a part of the body not meant for blocking shots of any kind, much less hard slapshots. Salo doubled over in pain on the ice, was helped off, but then had to be taken to a local hospital.

Here is video of the play. Right at the end of the first period, Salo's injury occurs as he's blocking a point shot by Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith.

The Vancouver Sun notes that it's "almost inconceivable" Salo would be able to play in Game 6 Tuesday. The actual injury is not known, but the article mentions the phrase "ruptured testicle," which you might remember as similar to the injury that took Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom out of a couple playoff games last year.

Lidstrom had surgery, but actually returned and played in the Stanley Cup Finals. Considering how tough hockey players are legendary for being during the playoffs, it would surprise no one if Salo came back without missing any games. It all depends on the severity of his injury.

Nolan Baumgartner would likely take at least some of Salo's ice time -- 22 minutes per game so far in the playoffs -- if he can't go. With Vancouver already missing veteran stalwart Willie Mitchell from their blue line, the pressure sure falls on guys like Kevin Bieksa and Christian Ehrhoff to play their best hockey in Game 6. Alex Edler should also get some of that ice time.

Where Vancouver could run into trouble is that Salo was good at using his size to help keep guys away from Roberto Luongo, a constant problem during the games Vancouver has struggled in during both their first two series.

Lucky for the Canucks, Bieksa and Ehrhoff were great Sunday in Game 5, so there's reason to believe it can be done again.

As for Salo, there are some who appear humored by what happened to him Sunday. Shortly after he left the game and was taken to the hospital, someone started a "Sami Salo's Ruptured Testicle" page on Facebook. As of Monday morning, over 1,000 people "liked" the page.
Filed under: Sports