He’s heard the rumors but has been around long enough not to let it affect him. Marty Turco will take the ice for the Dallas Stars on Tuesday against the Chicago Blackhawks, but will he still be a Stars goaltender come the trade deadline?
Rumors persist he could be on the move, and if the Hawks are looking for a goaltender, he fits their profile: playoff-tested and in the last year of his contract.
He’s not sure what will happen, and the Stars being for sale only complicates matters. Either way, it’s hard for him not to hear the talk.
“Of course we all think about it,” Turco said after Tuesday’s morning practice. “We don’t know if anything is going to happen. All you can do is continue to try to do your part to win where you are. And if things change down the road, I got a great wife and loving family, and we can adapt to anything. But right now my heart is in Dallas. We want to get closer to the playoff picture.”
Dallas enters Tuesday's game three points out of a playoff spot with one team between them and the eighth seed. It’s the proverbial “caught in the middle” scenario, as Turco put it. Are they buyers or sellers? He doesn’t know, and the Stars may not know until days before the deadline.
Turco understands the position the Hawks are in, because he was once there as a young goaltender. Even though their numbers are good, Cristobal Huet and obviously Antti Niemi don’t have Turco's playoff experience.
“It’s splitting hairs,” Turco said. “I’ve been involved in both situations. You’re never going to get experience until you get it. Playoffs [are] a different animal, but I think being in this city with this team with the expectations, they’re under a lot of pressure, and they’re being professional. It comes back to things [trade talk] they and I can't control.”
Turco is impressed with the Hawks.
“They have the puck most of the time, low goals-against, not many shots [against], and a good defense that plays 200 feet,” Turco said. “To say that they have it all is an understatement. We have a couple of confidence-building wins, but it doesn’t mean much if we don’t bring it [Tuesday night].”
Dallas is 2-0 against the Hawks this season, and Huet has had two sub-par games against them. It’s one reason Joel Quenneville will start Niemi. Plus, Niemi stymied the Blues on Saturday to break a Hawks' three-game losing streak.
“Either reason,” Quenneville said after the Hawks' Tuesday morning practice. “Antti hasn’t played against them and [us] not winning [against Dallas this season]. Antti gets a chance. He’s coming off an outstanding win against St. Louis, and it’s a good opportunity to get a back to back game here and see how he responds.”
One sore spot lately has been the Hawks' power play. They are 0 for their last 16 over a five-game span. Quenneville was asked to analyze it. It took him about a half of a second to respond.
“Not very good,” Quenneville said. “It’s an area where we need some production. Going five or six games without a goal can really slow down your offense and momentum in games. We want to go into the break getting this power play going. We know it can be the difference-maker on a lot of these nights. It can separate a close game and break it open for us. This has gone on long enough. We are due for something good to happen.”
Ben Eager did not participate in Tuesday morning’s practice due to an ongoing “lower body injury.” Quenneville is hopeful he might try to play this weekend but said “certainly after the Olympic break.”