I take it that Sami Salo would not do well in Las Vegas at any of the games of chance. With his 23rd injury since the lockout, luck is not on Salo’s side.
He did make it to game 12 before an injury occurred and really, did anyone think he would get through the season without an injury? The Canucks Coach Vigneault didn’t, as he commented “I think with Sami, it’s pretty safe to say we didn’t expect him to play 82 games.”
That’s an understatement. The most games Salo has played in a season was in his first season (2002/03) with the Canucks, when he played 79 games.
In the seven seasons since then, excluding the lockout season, Salo has played an average of 60 games over seven seasons, with the most been 74, which was 2003/04 and the least which was last season, 27.
With the average number of games Salo does play during the season, at least he’s fresher for a run in the play-offs, IF he can stay healthy. Even if Salo was enclosed in a bubble, I don’t think that would spare him some sort of injury, like maybe injuring himself while sneezing.
That’s too bad because when healthy, he is one, it not the best defenseman the Canucks has in their line up. Even though Salo has been out for three games, he is still at the top of the Canucks plus/- with a +6, which is tied for first with another injured Canucks, Alex Burrows.
Salo was also leading the defensemen in many categories before he was injured, along with scoring two game winning goals, and since his injury, the Canucks are 1W, 2L. Suffice to say, the Canucks are a better team defensively with him in the line up, along with his presence on the blue-line during the power play (2 PPG).
Not bad for a player that just turned 37. Now if only he can stay healthy!
Here it is 14 games into the season and the Canucks have already had 49 games missed by players. Most of those (45) are made up by Byron Bitz (15), Steve Pinizzotto (15), and Mason Raymond (15), along with Sami Salo (3) and Alex Burrows (1).
Not much has been said about Alex Burrows injury except that it’s been reported as back spasms. But would they divulge the injury anyways if it was that shoulder that he had operated on last season, when he missed the first ten games of the season?
Mason Raymond is begun skating but has not been cleared for contact. Raymond mentioned that he thought it would be sometime in December before he returns, although he is ahead of schedule.
Very interesting that Jannik Hansen of all people was playing along-side the Sedins. Maybe Vigneault is hoping some of the same magic will come to Hansen that was sprinkled on Burrows three seasons ago.
I would have thought that David Booth would have been the most likely candidate to fill Burrows spot while he was out.
Did anyone notice that with the Sedins being the only line that has been consistently scoring, Vigneault loaded up the second line by moving Chris Higgins up and Cody Hodgson down? I was wondering when that would happen.
This team needs to establish a solid second line and since Higgins has played there previously, it made sense. This will become very interesting when Burrows (sooner) and Mason Raymond (later) return and more so when Kesler returns to form.
That second line should then be a handful to deal with.
Such a great dilemma for the Canucks to be in with depth at the forward position, unlike years gone by. Not only that, but if Bitz and Pinnizzotto ever make it back into the line-up, I would think that Volpatti might end up back with the Chicago Wolves.
That might have been a lot sooner had Pinnizzotto not tweaked that shoulder that he had been rehabbing.
Although Volpatti has been a gamer to drop the gloves and duke it out with worthy combatants, he hasn’t won any fights in the regular season and has no points in 13 games. To me, Volpatti is the weak link on a very impressive fourth line, and there are other players that can take his place – and score.
Is Keith Ballard burning off his free Get Out of Jail card while leading the team with a -11? Now that one of Vigneault’s favourites is back in Aaron Rome, and Salo close to returning, by my count the back-end is a bit crowded.
No one should complain though, because during the course of a season and with the Canucks record of injuries on defense, everyone will get to play. Come play-off time, 12 D-men won’t be enough, never mind the current nine on the roster.
Ice Chips: Canucks coaching staff is doing a good job with rotating the extra players, making sure everyone gets into the line up and keeping them in game condition. That also allows the players to feel like they are contributing and with that, the ever present team harmony.
Have you noticed how quietly Cody Hodgson has gone about collecting seven points (3G, 4A) in 15 games? He’s on pace to finish with 35 to 40 points, which would rank him as the third best Canucks centre in points.
I did find a site which shows you how the Canucks are doing with the Chicago Wolves. I must have been spoiled last season with the Manitoba Moose’s site, because the Wolves site is still a Grade D to me. Sure hope the Canucks move their farm team closer to a time zone that makes sense.
Photo Credits – AP, Getty Images, Google Images and Yahoo Sports!
Video Credits – YouTube
To catch all the news, updates and new articles as they occur, along with the Canucks farm team, the Chicago Wolves, you can follow me at http://twitter.com/nucksiceman.
Note: www.nucksiceman.com is now mobile friendly. From the web address on your iPhone, you can choose Options/Mobile formatted and the site will appear in its entire living colour for you to view. Check it out.
Filed under: Vancouver Canucks