A passing grade in Turco’s debut
TAMPA - Every NHL team would like to have added a puck-moving defenseman at the trade deadline Feb. 27. The Bruins, out of desperation, added a puck-moving goalie in Marty Turco, whose ability to distribute the biscuit was on display Sunday when he made his Boston debut in relief of Tim Thomas.
Goalies need, first and foremost, to prevent pucks from going into the net. But it’s also a huge asset when they can field pucks and make life easier for their back line brethren.
“I play to win,’’ said the 36-year-old Turco, who was among the few Bruins who worked out early Monday afternoon following Sunday’s 5-2 loss in Pittsburgh. “Everything I do is focused around giving my teammates a chance to win. So if that means getting them the puck a half-second early so they can move it quicker and make a better play . . . I try to move it with a purpose. I take a lot of pride in it. Those are my defensemen, and they take care of us goalies, and I’ve always had a special relationship with them. I try to give them every chance not to get hit, move the puck, create a winning type of environment.’’
Turco, who likely will be back on the bench Tuesday night when the Bruins face the Lightning, turned back 20 of 22 shots in his first NHL action since suiting up last season with the Blackhawks. Until further notice, he is the safety net for Thomas.
But with Thomas struggling with an .855 save percentage over his last five starts, Turco can expect some action and could even get a start.
Coach Claude Julien made it clear after Monday’s workout he was impressed with Turco’s performance in Pittsburgh.
“I thought he did well. I thought he battled well,’’ said Julien. “He’s always been known as a great puckhandler and I think that is going to help us along the way, too. He is like a third defenseman when it comes to moving the puck. He battles. He’s just so excited. I thought he gave us some life, too . . . I just felt it was better for everyone involved to put him in and give Timmy a break and maybe give our team some life.’’
Turco, due to league bylaws, can not play in the playoffs this season. Hopefully, that will coincide with the return of Tuukka Rask from injury. Julien, meanwhile, sounds confident in turning to the former Stars stalwart.
“The better Marty is, to be honest with you, I think the more comfortable it is going to be for all of us,’’ said Julien. “I didn’t mind the way he played and we’ll see how we move forward here. But it’s a heavy schedule. We are going to need to lean on Marty. How much? I think the better he plays, probably the more we’ll see him.
Patrice Bergeron, hobbled by either a knee or foot injury, missed most of the second period Sunday and retired for the afternoon after only one shift in the third.
“The pain was there, so I wasn’t able to feel like myself,’’ said Bergeron, identifying it as a “lower body’’ injury.
Bergeron underwent various treatments, including electric stimulation, Monday afternoon, and twice referred to the need for swelling to diminish for him to be able to play Tuesday night. He said he also had X-rays, which were negative. Bergeron added that he remained hopeful he would be able to suit up.
Defenseman Adam McQuaid, injured in the first period Sunday, remains day to day, said Julien. The same is true for forwards Danny Paille and Benoit Pouliot.
“They are all banged up,’’ said Julien, adding that forward Max Sauve, an emergency callup for the Penguins game, was sent back to Boston.
“He just got hit, I think it’s more of a hip area injury,’’ said Julien. “He was limping pretty badly and left the rink on crutches. He’s done for a while.’’
Journeyman forward Trent Whitfield was summoned from AHL Providence and will suit up Tuesday night if Bergeron, Pouliot, or Paille is unavailable.