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Achilles tear just last in a long string of injuries for defenceman Sami Salo

VANCOUVER - Vancouver Canucks defenceman Sami Salo has suffered an Achilles tendon tear, adding another injury to the already staggering list accumulated by the hard-luck NHL veteran.

A Finnish website says Salo, 35, "suffered a serious injury'' while training. Some reports say he was playing floor hockey at the time.

The Canucks confirmed the latest injury in a terse release.

"Sami Salo suffered an Achilles tear while training and is out indefinitely pending further evaluation,'' the team said Friday. "There will be no further comment from the club or Salo at this time."

Salo's agent Bill Zito did not immediately return a telephone call.

The native of Turku, Finland, had nine goals and 19 assists in 68 games with the Canucks last season. He also was a member of the Finnish team that won the bronze medal at the Vancouver Olympics.

A rough count shows Salo has suffered around 35 injuries costing him over 200 games during his 11-year NHL career. There is one story that he was once bitten by a snake on a Finnish golf course.

Salo's list of wounds have run the usual gauntlet of knee, shoulder and ankle injuries. He's broken his ribs and his nose. He's missed games with the flu.

Some injuries have been strange, like the time he tore the gluteus medius muscle, which basically meant he strained his derriere.

Others incidents left people squirming.

During last fall's playoffs Salo was hit in the groin by a shot from Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks during Game 5 of their series. At first it was reported he had a ruptured testicle but that was later denied. Salo returned to play Game 6.

"The general was fine. The first battalion was down," he quipped afterwards.

Dodging reporters' questions about his health has become a game with Salo.

Prior to the start of this year's playoffs he stood in the Canucks' dressing room wearing a surgical mask over his face and holding a bottle of disinfectant, which he sprayed at reporters.

''Somebody was saying today I had an infection,'' he said at the time. ''If I had one, I wanted to put (this) on so you don't get it.''

During the playoffs two years ago Salo was quizzed if his ankle or groin was hurt.

"Maybe it's just a burning sensation when you pee,'' he told reporters during a dressing room scrum.

If Salo spends an extended time on the injured list it could help the Canucks with the salary cap.

Salo is entering the final year of a contract that will pay him US$3.5 million. Vancouver's payroll is now around $60.6 million while the cap is $59.4 million.

Forward Mason Raymond is scheduled for an arbitration hearing Monday. Raymond had 25 goals and 28 assists last year and there is speculation he could triple his salary from the US$760,000 he received last year.

Salo was originally selected 239th overall by the Ottawa Senators in the 1996 NHL draft. He spent four seasons in Ottawa before being traded to Vancouver in September of 2002 for Peter Schaefer.


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