Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman Borje Salming will forever be linked to the Toronto Maple Leafs and righfully so. Salming played 16 seasons with the Leafs, was a six-time NHL All-Star and two-time Norris Trophy runner-up.
However, it’s also a fact that Salming spent his final 49 NHL games as a member of the Detroit Red Wings during the 1989-90 season. He played his farewell NHL game for Detroit against the Philadelphia Flyers on April 1, 1990.
It's #WackyWednesday with Borje Salming, while most remember the HHOFer with the Leafs for 16 seasons, he signed with the Red Wings in 1989 and played his final NHL season before returning to Sweden in 1990 #VintageHockey #NHL @MapleLeafs @DetroitRedWings pic.twitter.com/pzyEYFux7C
— Vintage Hockey Showcase (@hockey_vintage) September 16, 2020
He was among the first European-trained players to make it as an NHL regular, although he’ll be the first to tell you that another former Red Wings defenseman and fellow Swede, Thommie Bergman, beat him to the NHL by a full season.
Salming, 71, recently revealed to Swedish media that he is suffering from a mysterious ailment. Doctors are still seeking to unearth the cause of his condition.
Salming finds that he frequently struggles to speak and also often must stop in mid-sentence to catch his breath.
“It’s hard when you have to talk,” he explained. “For example, if you have people visiting and are going to tell them something, you have to take a break to catch your breath because it gets thick in the throat.
“It’s not fun, but I hope it’s not serious. I keep my fingers crossed.”
Salming Battled COVID-19 In 2020
“This came from nowhere and no one seems to know why,” Salming told Aftonbladet.se. He battled COVID-19 in 2020 and there’s been some speculation that this latest illness might somehow be related to that bout with the virus.
“Some have guessed that this that I have suffered from now is post-COVID, but I do not think so,” Salming said. “I think it’s something else.
“Yes, you get a little worried, of course. But they have x-rayed the lungs and they were perfectly okay, so this is something else.”
THIS DATE IN 2006: @DetroitRedWings’ Nicklas Lidstrom had 1-3—4 to reach 789 career regular-season points and pass Borje Salming (787) for the most in NHL history among Swedish defensemen. 🇸🇪
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 9, 2021
Salming continues to visit with different specialists as they poke and prod him and seek to find an answer.
“I have received two referrals so I will go in and examine again and take blood samples and stuff,” Salming said. “Then we’ll see.”
So far, the solution to what ails the legendary defenseman remains shrouded in mystery. That, he is admtting, is growing entirely frustrating.
“You want to know what the hell it is,” Salming said. “I hope to get an answer when I return to the evaluation in a few weeks.”