Sami Salo, the oft-injured and battle-tested blueliner, has hung up his skates:
Salo last played in the 2013-14 season with Tampa Bay, but missed the final two games of the regular season with an upper-body injury. He again missed time during the Lightning’s four-game defeat at the hands of the Canadiens that season, missing the final two games of Montreal’s series sweep.
Salo confirmed to Ilta-Sanomat, a Finnish newspaper, that he could no longer play in the NHL. "Hand is what it is," Salo said. "(I am) no longer able to play. Not hockey, not tennis. At least not as a professional."
Salo - originally acquired from Ottawa for Peter Schaefer - played 566 of his 878 NHL games with Vancouver between 2002-2012, His 48 PPGs still ranks #1 for franchise blueliners and his 236 points is good enough for 7th best as well. Sadly his ability attract injuries, both big and small, became somewhat comical overtime as he skated past the wrong side of 30 years old:
Nevertheless, Salo - along with old defensive stalwarts like Mattias Ohlund and Ed Jovanovski - helped this team step out from the hockey shadows early last decade under Marc Crawford and was a big piece of the strong seasons under Alain Vigneault leading up to the Stanley Cup run in 2011. Clearly his best days were with the Canucks as he only suited up 117 for Tampa Bay prior to retirement.
Feel free to share your favorite Salo moments below. I'll you'll indulge me, I'll kick it off with one I was lucky enough to see in person and I have witnesses who saw me jump over the people in front of me in an inadvertent parkour-esue celebration. My apologies again stranger Sharks fans, though seeing it again still gives me goosebumps:
May you never step foot in a hospital again Mr. Salo, and thank you again for all of your efforts.