- Pierre LeBrun, NHL
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Marty Turco won't get to start against his old team Wednesday night, but don't go sniffing for a big story from the veteran netminder.
"I'd be doing the same thing if I were [coach] Joel Quenneville. I am fine with it," Turco told ESPN.com on Tuesday.
Youngster Corey Crawford will try for his seventh straight win in the Blackhawks' net when the Dallas Stars visit the United Center, and while Turco can't wait to face his former team, it'll have to wait. The Blackhawks have three more games against the Stars, including a first game back to Dallas on Feb. 11. Now that one would be special.
"The first return to Dallas, that's the one you circle," Turco said.
In the meantime, don't look for a goalie controversy when speaking to Turco. He'll have none of it. Turco took a massive pay cut when he signed in Chicago, going from a $5.7 million salary to accepting a one-year, $1.3 million deal with the defending Stanley Cup champions. He did that for a reason.
"Think about what I told you the day I came here," Turco told me. "I came here to win, I didn't come here to be the big man, I just came to be a part of this and do my job. Nothing I respect more than winning and a winning environment, and Corey's winning. I don't take it personally. Do I want to play against my old team? Heck yeah. But I'll get chances at it this year. There's nothing that I want more than playing in the playoffs. I'm a pretty confident guy. So let's just keep winning."
Turco's attitude won't surprise anyone who has known the 11-year NHLer. He's been a popular teammate for a long time, and while things haven't gone according to script for him so far in Chicago, he won't mope about it.
"I'm 35 and I don't have Cup ring," Turco said. "I want to win, and that's all I care about."
Crawford's .914 save percentage and 2.34 goals-against average are better numbers right now than Turco's .901 save percentage and 2.90 GAA.
"He's a good goalie and he's been playing real well all year long," Turco said of Crawford. "I like him a lot and I look forward to getting to know him that much better as the season goes on. It's a huge benefit for our team to have both of us playing well and have confidence in whoever is in there."
It's no coincidence that Turco has such a positive attitude toward his young net mate. As a young guy breaking into the NHL, Turco wasn't greeted too warmly by veteran Ed Belfour, whose stellar career on the ice came with a mercurial personality off it.
"The one thing I've always maintained is that it was special being around Eddie especially in the playoffs in '99 and 2000," Turco said. "I would have been an idiot not paying attention to what that guy was doing. On a personal level, our relationship wasn't very good; it wasn't what I was hoping for as a young guy. But professional, it was real good; I learned a ton from him."
However, knowing how it felt to be that young goalie who wasn't embraced by the incumbent, Turco has kept that in mind over the years.
"Having gone through that a little bit, it probably changed my approach, on a human level, to who my partners are," Turco said. "I've had great relationships since then and I want to continue to do that. That's important for the winning formula to have two guys doing it together as opposed to being adversaries and fighting for ice time."
So Turco will be there supporting Crawford on Wednesday night, and despite not getting the start, he'll have financial incentive for his teammates to beat the Stars in one of hockey's well-kept customs.
"There will be a lot of money on the board," Turco said, chuckling.
"My separation from the Stars was less documented and a little milder compared to his," Turco said with a laugh. "It'll be a healthy amount, it'll reflect my current salary structure, but it will also reflect my time in Dallas as much as I loved it and it will pay for part of a team function coming up."
Life as a Blackhawk has been a blast. Turco said he and his wife and kids were a bit apprehensive after leaving their only NHL home last summer but have quickly grown to love their new surroundings.
"Credit to this organization, the people they have working here and the city itself; it's been an amazing place," Turco said. "People who visit here know that, but it's even better when you live here. It's better than I even thought. I've lucked out."
Marty Turco won't get to start against his old team Wednesday night, but don't go sniffing for a big story from the veteran netminder. "I'd be doing the same thing if I were [coach] Joel Quenneville.