Lay Down, Sami

Sami Salo has been doing a lot of this for the last month. Chasing, watching the opposition skate past him.
Salo needs a nap.. or a broken hand.
(Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images North America)

Sami Salo is playing against the odds this season. So far, he has been far more durable than he has ever been while in a Canucks uniform. And that’s the problem. Sami Salo needs an injury. For the sake of his team.

It’s time to lay down, Sami.

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Sami Salo has played 36 of the Canucks’ 40 games this season. His four missed games through the first-half of the season is a career low for his time in Vancouver. Right now, Salo looks old, slow and tired. He’s getting beat to pucks, he’s making mistakes, and after the first two weeks of the season, he’s been essentially an even +/- player. Since the start of December, he has a measly 1G 1A. That’s 2 points in his last 15 games. In his first 21 games played, he had 13 points. The drop-off from the start of December is quite startling. He’s been ineffective at even strength and highly ineffective on the power play, where he is supposed to be at his most dangerous. The problem is this: Salo simply isn’t used to playing this much and it’s time he sat out.

Salo has averaged four injuries per season and 15 games missed throughout his Canuck career. That does not include last season when he played on 27 games because of his devastating Achilles injury before the season even started. He didn’t play his first game last season until February 12th against Calgary. Basically, going on his career average, he’s already played 4-5 more games by this point in the season than he normally would. You have to also consider the fact that he has also played two straight months of hockey with no time off. The last game that Salo missed was November 6th against Chicago. Since then, he’s played every Canucks game.

Salo’s age and body have caught up with him finally. He defied the odds a bit last season but, at 37 years old, the effects of years of injuries are clear and present now. Sami may be fit and in-shape, but he is obviously not used to playing this much hockey so early in a season.

Now it’s highly likely, given his history, that Salo could go down with an injury tomorrow against the Wild. Or while playing soccer before the game. Or slipping on a grape in his kitchen. Or tying his shoes. Or sleeping. Assuming he actually stays healthy through Wednesday’s game, it’s time for Salo to take a rest. Canucks management has to sit him down and say, "Sami – you need a break. You’re going to sit in the press box for 4 games to rest up."

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It’s possible that Gillis and co. are waiting for Aaron Rome to heal up before doing something with the defence roster. If not, give Chris Tanev another chance to play with the club. He’s proven that he can play at this level and he’s done what he’s needed to do in the AHL to earn another chance with the team. And the power play can’t be much worse off with Salo not manning the point. He has 1 PPG since December 1st. One point. That’s it. Put anyone else on the first-unit power play right now and it’s almost guaranteed to be more effective.

Either way, Salo needs a break. He’s not adding value to the team at this point and his poor aching, brittle bones need a long overdue rest.