Hockey

Canucks' Salo tears Achilles tendon

Vancouver Canucks defenceman Sami Salo has endured his share of injury woes in 11 NHL seasons, the latest being a torn Achilles tendon that could keep him on the sidelines for three months, according to a Finnish report.

Oft-injured defenceman expected to be out of action 3 months

The last time Vancouver Canucks fans saw Sami Salo on the ice, he battled through an undisclosed injury in a failed attempt to help the team force a seventh playoff game against Chicago in the NHL Western Conference semifinals.

Salo's injury woes haven't subsided in the off-season. The latest, according to a report that surfaced Friday out of Finland, is a torn Achilles tendon that came while playing floor hockey and could keep the defenceman on the sidelines for three months.

"Sami Salo suffered an Achilles tear while training and is out indefinitely pending further evaluation," the Canucks said in a news release. "There will be no further comment from the club or Salo at this time."

No stranger to injury during his 11 NHL seasons, Salo was limited to 68 games in 2009-10 with an assortment of ailments, including a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee, an eye injury and injuries to his groin and leg.

The 35-year-old native of Turku, Finland, scored nine goals and 28 points last season. He also was a member of the Finnish team that won the bronze medal at the Vancouver Olympics in February.

Salo wound up playing 19 minutes, 32 seconds in the Game 6 NHL playoff contest against Chicago, down slightly from his 20:45 average entering the game.

A rough count shows Salo has suffered around 35 injuries costing him over 200 games during his 11-year NHL career. There is one story that he was once bitten by a snake on a Finnish golf course.

Salo's list of wounds have run the usual gauntlet of knee, shoulder and ankle injuries. He's broken his ribs and his nose, and he's missed games with the flu.

Strange injuries

Some injuries have been strange, like the time he tore the gluteus medius muscle, which basically meant he strained his derriere.

Others incidents left people squirming.

During last fall's playoffs Salo was hit in the groin by a shot from Blackhawks defenceman Duncan Keith  during Game 5 of their series. At first it was reported he had a ruptured testicle, but that was later denied.

Dodging reporters' questions about his health has become a game with Salo.

Prior to the start of this year's playoffs, he stood in the Canucks' dressing room wearing a surgical mask over his face and holding a bottle of disinfectant, which he sprayed at reporters.

"Somebody was saying today I had an infection," he said at the time. "If I had one, I wanted to put [this] on so you don't get it."

Salo is entering the final year of a contract that will pay him $3.5 million US. Vancouver's payroll is now around $60.6 million, while the cap is $59.4 million.

He was originally selected 239th overall by the Ottawa Senators in the 1996 NHL draft. Salo spent four seasons in Ottawa before being traded to Vancouver in September 2002 for Peter Schaefer.

Vancouver forward Mason Raymond is scheduled for an arbitration hearing Monday. Raymond had 25 goals and 28 assists last year and there is speculation he could triple his salary from the $760,000 he received last year.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Doug Harrison has covered the professional and amateur scene as a senior writer for CBC Sports since 2003. Previously, the Burlington, Ont., native covered the NHL and other leagues for Faceoff.com. Follow the award-winning journalist @harrisoncbc

With files from The Canadian Press

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