Mike Heika has an interesting post up this morning on his Dallas Morning News blog. Last night, Marty Turco and the Dallas Stars allowed the Los Angeles Kings to comeback from a 3-0 deficit, including two goals in the final three minutes of regulation. On his blog this morning, a lot of readers were angry not just with the Stars but Marty Turco in general. Heika talks about fans' frustrations and and concerns with Marty Turco's play and how some feel the Stars would be better off without him in the future.
Excuse me, what? The Dallas Stars would be a better team without Marty Turco?
Everyone calm down and let's discuss this rationally.
For a long time Marty Turco was known as a great regular season goaltender who was unable to perform in the playoffs. In fact, he played awful in the postseason and the Stars were unable to even come close to winning a playoff series. A couple of years ago there was a loud roar among the Stars faithful that the Dallas Stars should go in a different direction, trade Turco and find someone else who can just as easily lose in the playoffs for a much cheaper contract.
And then Turco put together a brilliant series against the Vancouver Canucks in 2007. He had three shutouts in that series, the only games the Stars would win. Then last season he continued his strong play with incredible performances against San Jose and Anaheim as the Stars won their first playoff series since 2003. The thought that Turco was no longer able to win in the playoffs became a thought of the past and there was high hopes for the Stars' postseason hopes in 2009.
This season has encapsulated everything that is great about Marty Turco, yet it has also magnified his shortcomings. The worst stretch of his career coincided with a horrible start for the team, with Turco fighting his mechanics and his confidence while allowing a highly abnormal amount of goals. Yet Turco was also able to turn things around for a month single handedly carried this team on his back with outstanding play while those in front of him started to struggle again.
There is no doubt that the Dallas Stars will only go as far as Marty Turco will take them this season. With the injuries they are dealing with this team will lean more heavily on Turco than have already had to so far this year. Yet some are afraid that his inconsistency at times will doom this team into not only missing out on the playoffs but failing miserably if they get that far. With that fear in their heads, a loud number of fans have now said the Stars should just move on without him. So is this just a knee-jerk reaction after a horrible loss last night or do people seriously think the Stars would be better off without one of the top goaltenders in the league?
Professional sports fans are tough to please. If you are losing then you must do everything possible to turn that around or risk losing your fan base. If you are winning, yet not winning it all than you aren't doing enough to make your team the best. Marty Turco and the Dallas Stars have been one of the most consistently successful teams in the NHL over the past decade, but because the Stars have not made it to the Stanley Cup Finals since 2000, then obviously this team is not doing enough to win.
Take a look around the league and look at how many teams would be thrilled to have a goaltender like Marty Turco in net for them every night. Finding a franchise goalie is the equivalent of finding a franchise quarterback in the NHL. It isn't easy and once you find one you stick with them as long as you think you can. It's not like the Stars can just trade Turco or let him go after next season when he's an unrestricted free agent and expect to have the same level of goaltending moving forward.
The Stars do have a young goaltender that scouts and coaches like: Richard Bachman at Colorado College. Are you ready as a fan to hand over the reins of the team to a goalie coming right out of college? Perhaps the Stars trade Turco and bring in a veteran to hold down the fort while Bachman gets experience in the AHL. Either way the Stars will be taking a temporary step backwards with Turco's departure and there's no guarantee that Bachman or whoever else will ever be as good as he was.
While Turco can be a maddening player to watch sometimes the good has always outweighed the bad. For every boneheaded goal he lets in like last night's at the end of regulation, he makes ten incredible highlight reel saves that keeps the team in the game. Last night without Turco the Stars would have been down in the first period and almost assuredly losing in the third. When you have a goaltender that plays nearly every game you have to take the good with the bad. Not every goalie can be as consistent as Patrick Roy was.
Are the Stars a better team without Marty Turco? Not a chance in hell. But should the Stars start planning for life without him? Of course. There's a chance that he will ask for too much money next season and the Stars let him test free agency. But if that happens watch how quickly he gets snatched up by a team desperate for goaltending and more than willing to overpay a veteran goalie.
Now imagine the Dallas Stars being that team in two years.