Sami Salo Suffers Another Freak Injury
The veteran Vancouver Canucks defenceman suffered a torn Achilles tendon and will be out indefinitely. The NHL team announced Salo's injury Friday morning in a tersely worded news release.
The Canucks said he was hurt "while training" but a Finnish report contended he tore the tendon while playing floor hockey and will be out at least three months.
"There will be no further word from the club or Salo at this time," stated the news release.
The mishap is just the latest in a string of freak injuries that Salo, 35, has suffered throughout his career. In last spring's playoffs, he was questionable for Vancouver's sixth and final second-round game against the eventual Stanley Cup-champion Chicago Blackhawks after rupturing a testicle while blocking a shot.
The native of Turku, Finland, was limited to 68 regular-season games in 2009-10 due to knee, eye, groin and leg injuries. This latest setback comes as he is about to enter the final year of his contract with the Canucks.
Salo's injury may offer a reprieve for veteran rearguard Kevin Bieksa, who is considered trade bait as the Canucks deal with salary cap issues and work free agent signees Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard into the lineup.
Prior to Salo's injury, the Canucks had until the day before the start of the regular season before deciding what to do with Bieksa -- or other players -- to get under the $59-million salary cap. Now, Bieksa might be able to stay until mid-season.
Salo, who has been with the Canucks since 2002-03 following a trade with Ottawa, was also a candidate to be moved before he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer. Usually the Canucks' most reliable defenceman when healthy, Salo plays important offensive and power play roles on the team.
His injury also offers a glimmer of hope for veteran defenceman Willie Mitchell, who is in limbo as he attempts to prove that he has recovered fully from a concussion that kept him out most of last season.
Canucks GM Mike Gillis has stated he will not trade Mitchell until the 33-year-old Port McNeill, B.C., native shows himself capable of participating in an NHL-level game and practices without problems.