Vancouver Canucks v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Five

Canucks bits: Sami Salo almost retired, Roger Neilson statue planned


The Vancouver Canucks were idle like most of the teams in the NHL on Monday, but the Presidents’ Trophy winning team still managed to generate a couple headlines. Let’s take a look at those two stories.

Neilson earned the nickname “Captain Video” for pioneering the use of game tapes in his coaching regimen. He coached in 1,000 games in his career, working with 10 different NHL teams (including the Canucks) in some capacity. Neilson died in June 2003. He is in the Hockey Hall of Fame under the builders category. (Source: The Associated Press.)

  • In other Canucks news, hard-shooting defenseman Sami Salo told The Canadian Press that he thought the Achilles injury he suffered last summer would end his career. Salo missed the first 52 games of the 2010-11 season with the injury (plus training camp), but he was able to make his return on February 12th.

Here are Salo’s thoughts on recovering from the injury and trying to get back into game form in the middle of NHL competition.

“This one has been the toughest, not necessarily physically but for sure mentally,” Salo said after the Canucks practised Monday. “It was so serious I was worried I wouldn’t be able to function properly.”


One of the biggest challenges for Salo was getting back to game speed. He was like a car trying to enter the fast lane of a freeway.

“The first month was really tough,” he said. “Anybody can say the same thing if they have missed a long time with an injury.

“You can’t just turn a switch and say you will be back at the same level you were before. There was a long time adjusting.”

Salo’s fragility has been a bit of a punchline over the years, but it’s impressive than the veteran defenseman keeps coming back despite a steady stream of injuries. Perhaps he’ll end up with a Stanley Cup for his hard work?

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?