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Marty Turco appreciates ‘tremendous’ time in Boston

04.04.12 at 10:40 am ET


Marty Turco did Tuesday night what he’s always done in his long NHL career – stem the tide.

The powerful Penguins jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a couple of fluky goals in the first period.

The 35-year-old in those unmistakable gold pads and blockers then held the fort until the Bruins could muster the strength to tie the game. What happened late in the second period he had little control of as he became a shooting range target during a 5-on-3 power play that yielded two goals and the game was essentially over, as the Penguins prevailed, 5-3.

“I think by the end of the night [with] the chances, the amount of chances, that we had you feel like you deserve to win a hockey game. Those power play goals really ended up costing us, with those calls. But there’€™s a lot to be taken from this game. For me, it’€™s the end of the line as far as the regular season goes and these guys, you know, they battle to be down twice like that and even though we went down 5-2 in the third, there was no give up in this bunch,” Turco said.

“And that’€™s, I think that’€™s a huge thing for these guys to build on. They’€™ve been a tremendous third period team, everyone knows that real well. But to see them pour it on at the end and give us a chance was also a good sign too. But at the end of the day it’€™s disappointing to lose anytime, never mind against a team like that.”

Turco has had quite the career, including with Dallas in 2002-03 when he set a new NHL record with a 1.72 goals against mark. He won the NCAA title with Michigan twice, including in Boston in 1998. He signed with the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks in the summer of 2010.

But to find what Turco means to this Bruins team you have to look back to March 3. That’s when Tuukka Rask injured his groin against the Islanders and was essentially lost for the rest of the regular season. Two days later, the Bruins signed Turco, who in December 2011 signed a deal with the EC Red Bull Salzburg of the Erste Bank Hockey League in Austria. He cleared waivers on March 7 and joined the Black and Gold. Since he was signed after the NHL trade deadline, he is not playoff eligible. But that does not diminish his presence over the last four weeks in the Bruins dressing room, and their impact on him.

“It’€™s been tremendous, really,” Turco said. “I’€™ve been around for a bit; can’€™t say that disappointments have been much a part of my time here. I’€™ve been fortunate to have an opportunity and I’€™m truly grateful, for my family and I, for [what] the Boston Bruins gave me when things seemed pretty bleak. You want to play great and you want to show them, never mind anyone else, and for the most part ‘€“ days, game and practice, and being a good team man ‘€“ I’€™ve felt pretty proud of my time here so far. Between Tampa and a little bit tonight, those two games ‘€“ part of them anyway ‘€“ are pretty disappointing but at the end of the day I’€™ll continue to hold my head high like I have all year to be ready in this position and still want to play some. So, we’€™ll see what happens.”

Turco has started four games for the Bruins, winning in starts in Anaheim and Long Island. But – as was the case in Tuesday’s game – it didn’t start so smoothly. He came on in relief of Tim Thomas when the Penguins shot out to a 3-0 lead in Pittsburgh on March 11. He then got beat in his first start two days later in Tampa, 6-1.

He finally got in the win column 10 days later against the Ducks. But what’s he’s provided is a stabilizing force behind Thomas as the Bruins were fighting to hold on to the No. 2 spot in the East. Thanks, at least in some part to him, Thomas can take a breather this week – as he did Tuesday when he didn’t dress – and rest for the playoffs next week.

“After the Tampa game I’€™m sure everyone scratched their head and second guessed, it’€™s just human nature,” Turco said. “I don’€™t feel like I did but, I was just trying to control what I can. But you want to ‘€“ you want to have some sense of validation, sure, to this group and the players and coaches. I mean that’€™s the thing that really eats at me when I lay down at night is, you know, what can I do for my teammates? And, you know, work like a dog like I could to not only give these guys ample good goaltending in practice, right to the end for guys that weren’€™t playing or wanted to stay out late. I cherished that role for many reasons and it’€™s been an interesting year, to say the least. It would have been nice to win this one tonight but no matter what, being a Boston Bruin [and] a part of this group, I’€™ll be going out on a high no matter what.”

If this week is it for his Bruins career, Turco will always have a fond place in his heart for Boston.

“This building’€™s always been pretty special to me,” Turco said. “I have fond memories from the Frozen Four of ‘€™98, my first shutout here and anytime you play this group they’€™re always going to battle. So it was fun coming in here. Never started in that end, so I had to rethink that a little bit, but it was special. This is really unique franchise, not just what they did last year, but being an Original Six team and the tradition that they have and not many teams have this. Their fan base has been unreal over the years and particularly strong this year, so just to feel that energy inside the arena and get a chance to play, period, never mind at home, like I said I do owe a big debt of gratitude and even though losing 5-3, I think tomorrow I’€™ll wake up and realize that the majority of it was pretty fun.”

Read More: Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, Marty Turco
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