I find it hard to believe that Marty Turco is 33 years old. His prime is just flying by.
Fortunately, he’s still in it.
When Marty was backing up the nutty Ed Belfour, I couldn’t wait until he was the number one goalie. He’s so funny and easy-going and nice. All things that goalies didn’t used to be famous for.
He also had a crazy style of goaltending. He wasn’t strictly a stand-up and wasn’t strictly a butterfly goalie. He just did whatever he needed to to get to the puck and stop it. I won’t even go into his freakish puck-handling skills. He took the Stars to a couple of Jennings Trophies for fewest goals-against by a team.
He set the Goals-Against record (since WWII) in 2002-03 at 1.72 and he even played the last two games of the season, knowing it could mess it up. Unlike a certain goalie who broke Marty’s record the next season by sitting out the last game so he wouldn’t screw it up.
Turco had some trouble in the postseason, though. His first one, he beat Edmonton, then lost in the second round. Then the next year, they lost to Colorado in the first round and he didn’t look great. The next year, they lost to Colorado in the first round and he looked terrible, but so did everybody else. That team had problems.
In January of ’06, I complained to whoever would listen, including Bob Sturm, that Turco was overcoached. I felt that Andy Moog was trying to make him something that he wasn’t. He’d say in interviews that Marty needed to learn to be patient and use his positioning more, and not flail around all the time. (That last part is my interpretation, actually.)
I still think I was right. As Moog has moved on to do whatever he’s doing now, he’s left Marty alone. And while his coaching might have helped some, I think Marty’s gone back to doing it the way he wants to do it and he’s back on track.
While the Stars lost to Vancouver in the first round in 2006-07, nobody blamed Turco. He had three shutouts. The only games they won were his shutouts. He looked great.
Even though it was another in a long line of first-round exits, it didn’t seem like the same thing. It seemed like the beginning of something good, rather than just more of the bad. And the 2007-08 playoffs proved that to be the case. He was confident in his team and they were confident in him and they had a great run.
During the first-round-exit years, fans all over town called for Turco to be traded. People freaked when Doug Armstrong signed him to a new long-term, high-dollar deal. I never thought he should be traded. I thought there was no way that a goalie that ended with a 1.72 GAA one year, and then followed it up with a 1.98 GAA was a bad goalie. There was nobody better to be had in any trade, that’s for sure.
He needed some seasoning in the playoffs. He had huge success in college — he still holds the NCAA record for most career victories from his four years at Michigan — and I think he needed to get over himself first. He probably thought the playoffs were going to be easy. I think his confidence was staggered a bit and it took him a couple of playoffs to get over it.
He came in for the 2006-07 season with his head shaved and his attitude adjusted and it paid off. Then last season he was even more focused, saying he was going to let Brenden take care of the team and he’d take care of the net.
If there’s one thing (and there’s more than one thing) that Army did right, it was to sign Marty to his extension. He got a lot of flak for it but he had to do it. I never had a problem with it, though. I yelled at Turco a lot during games, but I never thought we needed a new goalie, I only thought he needed to straighten up and play right.
I don’t know of another goalie out there in the league right now that I’d prefer over Marty Turco. He is the perfect fit for this team. He’s taken steps over the last few years to get to this point. This next step is going to be a big one.