WILMINGTON — Michael Hutchinson was the first goaltender to take the ice for the Bruins’ practice Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena. But after he was followed by Tim Thomas and then, at 12:02 p.m., by Marty Turco, Hutchinson was relegated to the role of spectator — in full gear — when the 36-year-old Turco cleared waivers.
Signed Monday to a one-year contract, Turco, a 10-year NHL veteran, joined the team for his first practice in a Bruins’ sweater and was immediately put the through the paces, taking the net opposite Thomas, facing shots from the likes of Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, and Tyler Seguin.
“Today was good, actually,” Turco said. “I was a little bit apprehensive, not that I’ve done it too often, coming off a long travel day from Europe, but it was good to be back on the ice, under some bright lights, and facing some NHL players, never mind the Boston Bruins.
“It was a great day for the family and I, it was a great day and I’m appreciative for the phone call,” Turco said.
Turco, who will not be eligble to play in playoffs if (and when) the Bruins qualify, was signed as a backup to Thomas when reserve Tuukka Rask suffered what Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli characterized as a “lower abdomen strain/groin strain” during a 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders last Saturday at TD Garden.
Turco wasn’t allowed to take the ice until 12:02 p.m., after he had cleared waivers.
“It’s just another chapter in the book,” he said. “You get dressed for practice, but you got to agree with the rules, so you sit there in the bullpen and wait for the nod. More it felt like I was 15 years old again gettting ready to practice with the big boys. But it was an even better feeling when I got the thumbs-up from Pete and got out there and was excited to play.”
Turco, a veteran of 538 NHL regular season games with the Dallas Stars and Chicago Blackhawks, owns a 273-165-43 career record with a .910 save perecentage, 2.35 goals against average, and 41 shutouts.
He has compiled 30-plus wins in a season six times during his career, most recently in 2008-09 with the Stars, setting a career high with 41 wins during the 2005-06 season.
He most recently played for EC Red Bull Salzburg in the Austrian First Division, making four regular-season appearances and recording a 2.64 goals against average and a .934 save percentage.