Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Every Goal, Defenseman Edition: Sami Salo

Last year's Canuck defense corps scored 42 of the team's 268 goals, an impressive total good for second among team scoring by defenseman to the Phoenix Coyotes. Offense from the blue line was preached all season long, and the offensive abilities of a newly-acquired Christian Ehrhoff and a still-developing Alex Edler were allowed to flourish. With this year's acquisitions of Keith Ballard and Dan Hamhuis, as well as, hopefully, a healthy Kevin Bieksa, these numbers could be even higher. But why are we looking ahead? Let's take this week to revisit each and every one of the 42 goals scored by a Canuck defenseman. In bold, you will find each goal's chronological standing among the 42. Up today: Sami "The Friendly Ghost" Salo and his 9 goals.

Salo's first goal of the season, the 13th by a Canuck defenseman last season, is scored the way most of his goals are: a pass to the point from a Sedin, followed by a wicked slapshot. You will see this time and time again, and if you're surprised that this is how he scores the majority of his goals, you haven't been watching him for a decade like I have. Salo doesn't deke. He just shoots through goalies. I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise that Salo, who can pass through solid objects like ghost worth his salt, thinks he can put pucks through solid objects as well.

2. Dec. 14 vs. the Los Angeles Kings (17)
A Salo power play goal, but this one is scored by Sami's willingness to sneak in from the blue line. Daniel's cross-ice pass is deflected by the Kings defender, and Salo picks it up right in front, where he wires a wrist shot.

3. Dec. 22 vs. the Nashville Predators (19)
Salo scores here with a slapshot. Are you surprised? It must be nice for the Sedins to know that, at any time, they can send the puck back to the point and Salo will crush it. That's exactly what happens in this clip.

4. Jan. 5 vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets (22)
Salo's slapshot is legendary, and if there's one thing I think Alex Edler can still learn from Sami, it's how to step into a slapshot out of nowhere and simply murder it into the back of the net. Edler has a better slapshot, but tomorrow you'll see that he only scored one goal with it last season. He doesn't trust it yet in the way Sami trusts his. This puck squeaks free as a result of some good pressure along the boards by Daniel Sedin, but it's all Salo after that.

5. Jan. 20 vs. the Edmonton Oilers (24)
Beautiful passing by the Sedins, and Salo one-times a slap shot for a goal. The Sedins find him so often, you think he's a mercenary for their cause. Maybe they've contracted him out because they don't like slapping pucks?

6. Feb. 12 vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets (at 3:36 of clip) (28)
More of the same from the Sedins and Salo. The shot here is money, as you can hear the ping of the post and the click-clack of a typewriter writing an article comparing Steve Mason to Jim Carey.

7. Mar. 3 vs. the Detroit Red Wings (31)
Salo scores from the point on a wrist shot here, but it's the screens of Mikael Samuelsson and Brad Stuart that let the puck slip through Jimmy Howard's legs. He doesn't quite seem set, but I'm sure he was waiting for Salo to wind up. It really wasn't the best time to shoot it, but perhaps the presence of Samuelsson on the ice inspired Salo to try a shot that seemed foolish at the time. It worked out.

8. Mar. 13 vs. the Ottawa Senators (34)
A wrist shot tallies Salo's eighth goal of the season, as a beautiful Canucks 3-on-2 rush fails to produce a goal. Samuelsson keeps after the puck, and gives it to Edler, who puts it across to Salo for the goal. My favorite thing about this clip: watch for when Henrik passes to Daniel, and Samuelsson makes like he's accepting the pass there, then shades away to one-time Daniel's touch pass instead. A subtle piece of trickery that, had it worked, might have made some highlight reels.

9. Apr. 4 vs. the Minnesota Wild (39)
Salo's 9th goal of the season is an overtime winner scored in the same way he scores most of his other goals. I imagine if he didn't score on that slap shot, the Canucks would just kept trying it for the next two and a half minutes. I know Sami Salo's hurt a lot, but let's be honest: it really can't be helped (unless he really is a superhero), and nobody else on the Canucks scores this exact goal with regularity the way Salo does. It's nice that this guy wears the Orca.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...