The Goods: Salo artist

Saturday, 22.10.2011 / 8:05 PM / Features
By Derek Jory
VANCOUVER CANUCKS
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MINNESOTA WILD
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The earliest home game in team history provided afternoon delight for the
Vancouver Canucks.

Sami Salo, playing in his 700th NHL game, scored the game-winner with his patented slap shot o’ terror to give the Canucks a 3-2 overtime win over the Minnesota Wild Saturday afternoon at Rogers Arena.

Dany Heatley forced the referee to hand him a slashing penalty 3:45 into overtime after he broke Ryan Kesler’s stick in half and on the ensuring power play, it was clear the game-plan was to get Salo the puck.

His first shot sailed wide.

His second shot sailed wide.

His third shot was right on the money.

Salo said he was just trying to put it on net, but it looked more like he was trying to put it through the net. And the boards.

“I knew there wasn’t much time left, we were in the last 20 seconds, I just felt bad on the first two shots and I thought I’d give it a shot and good things happen,” said Salo.

The Canucks trailed 1-0 early in the first period before Daniel Sedin evened the game on the power play late in the second. Minnesota answered with a quick goal to reclaim the lead later in the frame putting Vancouver on its familiar comeback trail down 2-1.

Jannik Hansen netted his first of the season early in the third and despite outplaying the Wild to end regulation, the Canucks were forced to overtime.

Salo’s shot was the sixth Vancouver attempt of the extra session and the only one Niklas Backstrom couldn’t stop.

Salo’s third goal of the season was much more than just the game-winner, it was the 19th of his career moving him into a tie with Mattias Ohlund as the Canucks defenceman
with the most game-winning goals in franchise history.

ROCKIES OR AVALANCHE?

When Sami Salo took to the ice on October 10, 1998, in Colorado as a member of the Ottawa Senators, he was hoping it would be the beginning of a long career.

It was.

Salo appeared in his 700th NHL game Saturday, 505 of which have been played in a Canucks uniform, but he said not to make a lot of hoopla about it. It’s just a number.

“It’s been a long time, but it’s gone by really quick, it just feels like yesterday when my first game was against Colorado in Colorado and that was 13 years ago I think,” said Salo.

“When you said Colorado, was it the Rockies or the Avalanche?” snarked a reporter jokingly.

Salo, now 37-years-old, has been with the Canucks since 2002-03 putting up reliable numbers and stellar play on the backend since then. He has always just gone out and played, never worrying too much about stats, good or bad.

“The focus has always been trying to put my best effort out there. Those 700 games have gone really quickly. A Finnish reporter reminded a few days ago that another guy (Kimmo Timonen) came into the league at the same time and he had his 900th game last game. I could have had more games, but it’s gone by real quickly.”

In addition to tying Ohlund for most career game-winners by a blueliner, Salo also moved past Greg Adams and Ryan Kesler into 14th all-time for Canucks game-winners; the power play score was the 43rd for Salo, a record for Canucks defencemen.

BOOTH TO VANCOUVER

Gillis announced post-game that Vancouver acquired forwards David Booth, Steven Reinprecht and a third round draft pick in 2013 from the Florida Panthers in exchange for Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm.

Booth, in his sixth NHL season having topped the 20-goal plateau and 40-point mark three times, is 26-years-old and despite being off to a slow start this season, Gillis likes what he sees in the left winger.

“He gives us an opportunity to have a top-six forward and a left-winger to play with Ryan Kesler,” said Gillis.

Reinprecht, 35, will report to the Chicago Wolves to help the Canucks clear up their overload of players. The seasoned 11-year pro is removed from his 51 points season from 2002-03, but he will add a steady presence when called upon.

Going to Florida the Canucks lose Sturm and Samuelsson and Gillis said that was just the price his team had to pay to close out a deal that had been discussed for some time over the last six months.

“They were the players that Florida wanted and you have to work with the other side to try and come up with a match…You have to act when it comes your way.”

The Canucks have Sunday off before hitting the ice Monday for practice, if Booth is there, we’ll have all the details on Canucks.com.

RULES OF THE PRESS BOX
Just because it's an afternoon start, doesn't mean you can wear pajamas to cover it. Even if it's an adult onesie with a hood. Who knew?
Tweet of the night - "Dany Heatley's favourite 98 Degrees song is "Invisible Man". #Canucks #Wild"
- @AY604, noting that Heatley was less than noticeable for Wild on this night.
Occupy Luongo - For the second straight home game a "fan" brought a sign displaying nothing more than
OCCUPY LUONGO. That makes little to no sense. Where have all the creative people gone?
Brunch it is -  Custom omelet chef AND waffles? The media received a real treat Saturday pre-game. Ciara’s omelets
were perfection and the two…three…okay four waffles I had were a party for my taste buds.
Afternoon delight - Some said he couldn’t do it, but DJ Dave proved them wrong playing six consecutive afternoon themed
songs when doors opened at Rogers Arena. Naturally, "Afternoon Delight" by Starland Vocal Band kicked things off.