If Sami Salo doesn't lie, he sure bends the truth.
It's a well-honed skill he's picked up over the years, stickhandling his way around 38 career injuries. There was the time he came back from the 2006 Olympics with a shoulder injury and said he could be out days, weeks or maybe months. Technically right, and revealing of nothing.
There was the time in the 2007 playoffs when he said he had the flu, adding this nugget: "Maybe if the trainers give me some Pepto-Bismol I'll feel a little better. We did some blood work and I took an IV; I'm starting to feel a little better."
Not long after, it was revealed he had a strained oblique muscle.
Then there was last year in the playoffs when he was injured while taking a slapshot. Was it an ankle, knee or groin?
"That's close. Or maybe it's just a burning sensation when you pee," he said. "You never know."
That's just it with Salo, you never do know. Turns out he had a torn gluteus medius muscle. That's right, a bum strain.
So, it's not surprising that after missing two games, several skates and after leaving the ice suddenly Friday following a team photo and a drill, Salo met the press Tuesday and returned volley with a question of his own.
"Was there something wrong with me?"
Yes, that's the inference when head coach Alain Vigneault lists Salo as "day-to-day," something he did Friday and again Tuesday morning. That's the suggestion when Salo's mug shot appears on the Canucks webpage under the heading: Injury Report. And that's the conclusion any reasonable person would reach when right above Salo's name Tuesday on canucks.com
it said "current injuries" and listed his status as "day-to-day."
"That was you guys who made that up," Salo said.
He'd be right if by "you guys" he meant Vigneault, his team's web-site and the information vacuum that recently attached its hose to GM Place. Does this mean Salo will be 100 per cent for the playoffs?
"No," said Salo, before pausing. "110."
Oh, he's good.
Salo made it clear that he is, in fact, not injured.
"There wasn't an injury, if you guys want to know that," he said.
What about leaving practice early Friday? "I had the flu that day, too," he said without hesitating.
Salo did say he had a "personal issue" which kept him out of Saturday's game against Calgary and Monday's practice. Could the personal issue have been an infection in his ankle which made it difficult, if not impossible, for him to skate? Could be. That would make sense. And, technically if it had cleared up by Tuesday, Salo wouldn't be injured.
It would have also happened at a perfect time for both Salo and the Canucks.
Let's face it, Salo was starting to show some wear at the end of the regular season, beat down by weeks of playing big, shutdown minutes in place of Willie Mitchell. In the last three weeks, Salo was a minus-7 in nine games.
In his last three games, he played more than 25 minutes and that's out of Salo's comfort zone.
"I hope so," said Salo when asked if he felt refreshed. "Playoffs are a grind."
So are Salo injury scrums with the media.
The Canucks need Salo desperately, even if they are explaining away their recent defensive woes as being part of a concerted effort to get Henrik Sedin the Art Ross Trophy.
"We had a small stretch where we got excited because we got the possibility of one teammate, who is really well liked in our dressing room, to do something that's never been done before," Vigneault said.
"So, yeah, we cheated a bit on the offensive side and I let it go.
"I won't do that any more, you have my word on that."
Salo will likely pair up with Alex Edler again, while Christian Ehrhoff is expected to play with Andrew Alberts and Shane O'Brien will play with Kevin Bieksa.