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Elliott Pap, Vancouver Sun
Published: Monday, October 30, 2006


SLAMMIN' SAMI: After four consecutive triumphs, defenceman Sami Salo figures they should give him a trophy for retaining his title as 'hardest shot on the Vancouver Canucks.'

"No news yet on that," smiled Salo after his blast of 100 mph edged Josh Green (98.6 mph) at the Canucks' annual skills competition Sunday. "I was lucky to win again. One hundred is pretty good."

Rookie Luc Bourdon emerged as the team's fastest skater with a lap of 14.398 seconds while Jan Bulis was second in 14.790. Blueliner Rory Fitzpatrick was the most accurate shooter, hitting four of five plates.

Bourdon and Alex Burrows also made noteworthy contributions to the competition by being the dupes in the traditional pie-in-the-face routine. The two grass-green Canucks were asked to perform a Halloween type event and then called to centre ice for interviews.

With their backs to the players' bench, they had no inkling that Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa were bringing on the cream pie ammo.

"I heard about the tradition but it slipped my mind," said Bourdon, 19. "I got punked."

"We were supposed to get just Luc and I guess the guys turned against me," added Burrows. "It was pretty funny. At least it was [whipping] cream, and not shaving cream. It tasted good."

SICK BAY WATCH: After a full week off, defenceman Willie Mitchell (concussion) was still not symptom free Sunday and his absence from the lineup remains indefinite. Mitchell was hit from behind by Nashville's Jason Arnott on Oct. 21.

There was no penalty on the play and Mitchell later said he did not blame Arnott, a former teammate in Dallas, for putting him out.

"I think today was his best day but he still has symptoms," Canuck head coach Alain Vigneault said, discussing Mitchell's condition."With concussions you never know. I think the headaches are gone and he's just a little light-headed. That's how he explained it to me.

"You can see that he's not himself. He's a guy who's always got a smile from one side of his face to the other. So you know he's not quite right. He'll take whatever time he needs to come back 100 per cent."

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