Sun Oct 23 06:39pm EDT
Watch closely at the tail-end of this clip -- in which Vancouver Canucks' defenseman Sami Salo(notes) scores the overtime winner in the Canucks' Saturday afternoon tilt with the Minnesota Wild -- and you'll see Alex Burrows skate past the celebration in order to retrieve the puck for Salo.
Burrows has earned a reputation in Vancouver as the designated puck retriever after any Canuck scores a milestone goal, so it's no surprise to see him collect this one. The only curiosity is the milestone.
What was it? Salo's 300th point? His 100th career goal? No, rather, the game was simply Salo's 700th. From the armchair GMs at The Province:
As things turned out, it was Salo's 700th career game. But it's what those 700 games represent that tells the story here.
"We love him so much," said Burrows. "For him to come back this year with all the injuries he suffered and taking a pay cut. And he still wants to win more than anyone. He's a warrior."
Sure, 700 games may seem like a rather ordinary accomplishment for which to save the game puck, but for Sami Salo, it's pretty damn special. This is a dude so snake-bitten he once missed two games after literally being bitten by a snake.
With his booming slapshot (see above for proof), many have called Salo the Finnish MacInnis, but Salo's more oft-used nickname is The Fragile Fin. It's fitting. Salo broke into the league only one year after Joe Thornton(notes), who recently celebrated his 1000th game, and if the Finnish defenseman hadn't missed nearly 300 with over 40 separate injuries, he'd be nearing the millennium mark in games played as well.
Instead, with the hard luck he's had -- a famous puck to the Charlie Browns, for example -- it's a wonder Salo even made it to 700, especially since no one would have been surprised if, nearing forty, he had retired after suffering a torn Achilles tendon playing floorball two summers ago. Seriously, floorball, a game about as taxing as duck duck goose.
But now, having reached 700 after all he's been through, the rest of the team can't help but be inspired by his perseverance.