'He was flopping around like a fish on the dock’, ‘What a mastadonic save that was.’ I can still hear Daryl Reaugh saying these things about Marty Turco.
Marty was without a doubt one of the most exciting goaltenders to put on a Dallas Stars uniform, and now he is on a mission to sign the dotted line on a contract with another team. Right now, all signs point towards the Philadelphia Flyers, and I’m sure the Flyers wouldn’t mind having him as a seventh defender.
But I’m not here to talk about what team he might represent next year, I’m here to talk about all the memories Marty brought to the Stars and their fans. Deemed "the smartest goalie in the NHL" by Don Cherry, Marty knew when and where to go with the puck when it was on his stick. His goalie vision and puck-handling skills are exceptional, many times plugging an opposing forecheck, or even lobbing a puck up the ice to post an assist to his career numbers. Turco had 18 career assists in his nine seasons wearing a Dallas sweater. Not many goalies can say they have that amount of assists. Granted, it is only 18 assists I am talking about, but when you think about the circumstances that must happen in order for a goalie to get a tally, that’s pretty impressive.
Turco made his NHL debut during the 2000-01 season, being a backup before getting the starting nod two seasons later. In his first season as the starting goalie for the Stars, he posted (at the time) the best modern era goals against average of 1.72. Unfortunately for Turco, Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff broke the record just one season later when he posted a 1.69 GAA. And despite posting the best save percentage (.932) during that 02-03 season, he still finished second in the Vezina Trophy voting behind some guy named Martin Brodeur. The Stars lost to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the playoffs.
The year after that, Turco still posted a GAA that stayed under two with a 1.98. However, advancing far in the playoffs were too much to ask for again, that time falling to the Colorado Avalanche. A year later he won a career best 41 games during the regular season, but the playoff monster gobbled up the Stars in the first round again, losing to the Avalanche, again.
A year later during the 2006-07 playoffs, almost the same result was written on the Dallas Stars history wall by losing in the first round, but this time to the Vancouver Canucks. That time, Turco was one of the best goalies in that first round despite being knocked out. Despite shutting out the Canucks three times in the series, the Stars were countered in net by a feisty Roberto Luongo.
The next season was a little more golden for Turco and the Stars, reaching the Western Conference finals against the Detroit Red Wings, but losing in six. One of the most memorable moments of that playoff run was game six of the semi-finals against the San Jose Sharks, the game that went into the wee hours of the morning, the one where Brenden Morrow punched the Stars’ ticket to the WC finals, the one where it could have ended way earlier had Evgeni Nabokov decided not to have his left arm act like rubber and absolutely rob Brad Richards of a goal. Nevertheless, at the end of the game, Dallas took home the W.
That would be the most recent time the Stars would taste the playoffs, as they are currently mired in a two-year postseason absence. The 2008-09 season saw Turco pass Cesare Maniago’s franchise record for games played, minutes played and consecutive games started. However, this was the first season since 2001-02 that the Stars didn’t make the playoffs, and they would do the same the next season.
So what does all this about the Stars mean for Turco? Despite the last two seasons, it means he had a pretty successful career in Dallas. The casual fan will not realize how much Turco has meant to this organization, because "only the most recent happenings are what matters." Yes, Turco could have played a little better, yes he could have made a lot more saves, but he isn’t the only reason Dallas is struggling to find the light at the end of the tunnel.
After it is all said and done, Turco had a monstrous nine seasons in Dallas. His electrifying play and personality were one of a kind, and the Stars fans should appreciate all he did for this organization even if he struggled the last two years. He gave his all for the team, and fans should realize that as well.
His age is starting to climb, but don’t think he doesn’t have the skills to compete anymore. Just ask Mike.
Good luck Marty, we wish you nothing but the best in the hopes of you continuing to have success in the National Hockey League. Although I have one request: please sign with a team that is in the Eastern Conference.
You know you want to.