What follows is a homerific, sunshine and daisies editorial on what Marty Turco's time in Dallas meant to me, personally. To those who would not read it, and then skip to the comments and say "good riddance" ....Well, this one isn't for you.
In my section of choice at the American Airlines Center, there is a group of..."people", we'll call them, to avoid specifics, that have a certain ritual. That ritual is that every time Marty Turco touches the puck, regardless of location, situation, or pressure, they yell "Marty, get in the goal!" as loud as humanly possible. It's no joke, either. The panic...the fluster in their voices is almost tangible. They're genuinely nervous (and annoyed) every single time.
They won't have to put up with that any more (and neither will I...) , but still it gets me thinking about what Marty Turco's legacy will be in Dallas 5 or 10 years from now. To me, he's the daring, athletic, cocky SOB whose career here was undone by an unfortunate set of falling dominoes that rarely allowed him the chance to show his stuff (see 2007, 2008 SC Playoffs) when it's that special time of year, particularly at the end, when I think you would have seen a more focused, potent weapon in net. To many others he's the guy who couldn't get it done and fumbled the puck every now and then.
There's no sense in trying to convince anyone one way or the other after the fact, but as he prepares to move on to (The Flyers? Some people are still pushing the Sharks angle...) another team, it's not a bad idea to share some memories of the departed net minder who, like it or not, is a rather large and significant piece of this franchises history. In all the Modano hubbub around here, Marty Turco has not been properly celebrated.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again now: Marty Turco is a gunslinger. There was a game a couple of years back in San Jose where Marty had a bad giveaway with under a minute to go to Patrick Marleau. He scored and the Stars lost the game. The fury after the game was stunning to behold on the internet, but I remember wondering why everyone was so surprised...
Marty was trying to make a play down ice to win the game. It was a foolish backhand pass that went awry. He admitted it and owned it after the game. I remembering writing on hockeyanalysis.com after the game that you have to take the good with the bad. No one wanted to hear it. Turco makes upwards of 20 plays a game with the puck that 90% of the other goaltenders in the league couldn't even think up in a game situation, much less execute. He's a gunslinger, and with 262 career wins and several more years ahead of him, you can't say that it doesn't work.
Even 3 more sub-par years would put Turco into the top 20 in career wins with names like Hextall and Richter. 3 more above average years could put him top 15 with names like Barrasso and Stars great Andy Moog. I'm not saying Marty is hall of fame material, not without cups, but his accomplishments shouldn't simply be cast aside by Stars fans because of two mediocre years to conclude his tenure here.
When I try to conjure my own personal most memorable save in Marty's career, I tend to think of this one. It might be easy choice, but game six against San Jose in 2008 has come to be the most memorable post-lockout game Stars fans have to fondly look back on. This was one of dozens and dozens of saves that night, but it carried with it a little extra weight given the enormity of the occasion and what the man at the other end of the rink was doing (notably against Brad Richards minutes before.)
Here's another one I thought of (that luckily made it in the front end of the YouTube era...) against the Ducks
Speaking of the Ducks, NHL Network played a "classic series" show last weekend on the Ducks and Stars 2003 second round match up in what you may remember as the year of J.S. Giguere. We tend to only recall the Anaheim net minder and the 5OT game (and Petr Sykora) from that series, but after viewing I was pleasantly reminded how great Marty Turco was as well.
Looking back, I find that I even associate the man with the building he called home for the last 8 years. Ed Belour may have still been the man the year the AAC was opened, but it's been Marty's place ever since. It will take me a good long while to not feel that other netminders are standing in Marty Turco's crease.
I admit that Marty is important to me, if for no other reason, than fortunate timing. You can't deny the greatness of Belfour, but I was barely 17 years old when the Stars won the cup. Eddie the Eagle feels more like the stuff of legend to me at this point. So while I was a fan way back when, my immersion into complete and utter Stars fanaticism and season ticket holdership (I made that work up) happened on Marty Turco's watch. Just weeks before I proposed to my wife, I bought her a Marty Turco jersey for her birthday. I won't tell you that I was more excited to give her the authentic Turco jersey than the ring, but the disparity wasn't as great as it should have been.
I guess she needs a new jersey next season.
Marty Turco, if you've ever talked to him you know, is a gracious and generous man, particularly with the fans. He is thoughtful and patient. He's earned his considerable pride and his criticism as well, and he's done it all with class befitting of this organization. He's been a leader in the locker room for a long time and that leadership will be missed. Don't think that Modano is necessarily leaving a bigger hole in the locker room than Marty Turco.
It will be interesting to see how an uninterested, disengaged Dallas media (with many exceptions of course) plays it next year without Marty Turco to kick around. DMN columnists who occasionally opine on stick and puck will have to alter their bi-annual "Shouldn't Marty Turco be stealing games for this club?" pieces, and on the radio Razor will have to answer fewer hockey give-up questions on Friday mornings next season like "What's up with Marty Turco?" and "Hey, talk about Marty Turco's play over this last week." It's lazy, and for every time Marty deserved it, there were 2 other times when he didn't.
Marty Turco will be missed here. He's another one of these guys I hope the Stars can "bring home" eventually, to work for the organization. Even if it's assistant (to the) Ambassador of Fun.
Marty Turco will always be, to me, the guy that would take the ice at practice and fire a puck into the corner glass where I was standing as he did many times over the last several years. A lovely "wake up, and stop looking at your phone" that he'd give folks. And sure he might give Steve Ott a nice rack job during a drill or whack a guy across the back of the legs on the PK, but that's the fun of it, right? The swagger and personality is what I'll recall the most years on down the line. It's something the NHL needs more of desperately.
Speaking of which, I'll leave you with Marty in all his glory here in this YouTube clip. A rare brilliant idea from the folks at Versus and the NHL.
What does Marty Turco's time here mean to you?