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Sami Salo return watch intensifies as he begins conditioning stint with AHL’s Manitoba Moose


James O’Brien

The short term tension of Sami Salo’s impending return was reduced because of Alex Edler’s lengthy injury, so the Vancouver Canucks can ponder the defenseman’s comeback without reaching for an antacid or two. At least for now.

Salo began one of the most substantial parts of the rehab process today, as the team assigned him to the AHL’s Manitoba Moose (minor league sports teams have the best names, don’t they?) for a conditioning stint. The Globe & Mail reports that he might actually dress for the team’s game against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins tonight.

His most recent NHL appearance came during the team’s playoff run in May. The hard shooting Finn hasn’t hit the 70-games played mark since the 2003-04 season. He played in 68 games in 2009-10, scoring nine goals and 19 assists for 28 points. Salo could be a valuable commodity if he can get up to full speed by the playoffs, even if his $3.5 million cap hit can cause almost as many headaches as his slap shot.

We’ll keep you updated as Salo approaches in return with the big club.