Friday, October 22, 2010
Turco working overtime for Blackhawks
By Jesse Rogers
Marty Turco has stopped 15 shots in two overtime periods this week.
ST. LOUIS -- Though he's getting credit for some clutch play as of late, many may not realize just how busy Marty Turco has been over the last two overtime victories.
He stopped 15 combined overtime shots in wins over St. Louis on Monday and Vancouver on Wednesday.
"I was even surprised to see it was that many," Turco said as he prepared for a rematch against the Blues on Friday. "I think 4-on-4 is awesome. If I wasn't such a pro union guy, I would say [a] 4-on-4 league would be pretty exciting."
Turco wasn't far off the record for saves. The new 4-on-4 rules in overtime were implemented following the lockout in 2005. In March of 2009, according to The Elias Sports Bureau, Marc-Andre Fleury of Pittsburgh stopped 11. Turco had seven against the Blues and eight against Vancouver.
"Never had that many in back-to-back games, that's for sure," Turco said.
If Turco likes 4-on-4 play, then he will like the Hawks. They were dominant a season ago, scoring 16 while giving up just six.
"The secret really lies in our defensive core," Turco explained. "Their non-hesitation to join the play. It's four-man units more than two on offense and two on defense."
That's exactly what happened on Monday in the win over St. Louis. Defenseman Jassen Cullimore, not known for his speed, took the puck from the blue line to down around the Blues net before finding Patrick Kane, who set up Patrick sharp for the winning goal.
"I'm not sure what retired defenseman I called him," Turco joked. "It may have been Larry Robinson. I gave him the belt after that game for the move right there."
Blues Prep St. Louis hasn't played since blowing the two-goal lead against the Hawks on Monday, so Turco thinks they will be ready. Turco is also prepared, having just seen them.
"Anytime you see a time as recent as this, your pregame prep becomes a little bit easier," Turco explained. "It flows a little be nicer, maybe a little less brain power used to summon their tendencies. They played a great road game and now they're at their home barn. They'll be ready."
In this corner John Scott hasn't fought yet this season, but he says that's not from a lack of trying. Scott says Brad Winchester, who he did fight in the preseason, "turned me down" on Monday, so maybe Friday will be different. BJ Crombeen is another tough guy on the Blues and he analyzed Scott as a fighter.
"He's definitely one of the bigger guys in the league and has longer arms, so it obviously presents different challenges when you have a guy with that long of arms, trying to get in on him," Crombeen said on Friday.
Improvement Despite four wins in a row, Joel Quenneville is still looking for improvement. He knows three of those games could have gone either way.
"We want to make sure we let the guys know we can be better than this," Quenneville said. "There is room for growth in certain areas, [be it] our puck possession game or protecting it or coming up with more. I liked how we checked [played defense] last game. That's an area we can focus on that can enhance the other side [offensive] of our game. That was a positive coming out of the last game."