Daily Herald
If Salo's out, Hawks will benefit in a big way
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 5/4/2009 12:07 AM

Imagine the Blackhawks losing Brent Seabrook with an injury.

That's the kind of loss the Vancouver Canucks are facing if defenseman Sami Salo is out for Tuesday's Game 3 or beyond.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Salo didn't travel with his teammates to Chicago on Sunday because of what the club was calling a lower body injury.

Salo appeared to hurt his lower back or ribs shooting the puck on the goal he scored at 5:35 of the first period of Saturday's 6-3 loss to the Hawks at GM Place.

"When you lose a player like Sami there's a trickle-down effect," Canucks defenseman Shane O'Brien said. "We do need Sami, but that wasn't the reason we lost. Their forwards were beating us out of the corners."

Salo plays huge minutes for the Canucks, who lost 11 of 15 games in late December and early January when the Finn was out with a rib ailment. The Canucks lost just 11 of 38 games when Salo returned.

There remained a chance Salo would fly into town after getting treatment in Vancouver and be ready to play in Game 3.

The Hawks tried to take advantage of Salo's absence Saturday by making the short-handed Canucks defense work even harder.

"We did know they were down a defenseman, but whether that affected them or not, I don't know," Patrick Sharp said. "They've got five pretty solid guys back there without Salo.

"He's a big part of their team," Dave Bolland said.

Canucks coach Alain Vigneault talked after Salo scored the game-winning goal in Game 1 about what the defenseman means to the team.

"Sami, without a doubt, when he's in our lineup, our team, both offensively and defensively, benefits," Vigneault said. "He's such a powerful 1-on-1 player. Defensively, he's really dependable, and his first pass breaking out of our zone is one of the best I've seen."