Monday, June 8, 2015

Marty Turco Jersey Card

Marty Turco's a unique figure in goaltending, where you either consider him elite or average, and just about nothing will change your mind. I'm in the latter category, mostly, though I do respect that he was a unique stickhandler and, with perhaps Martin Brodeur, may have been the top puck-moving goaltender of his era, with Rick DiPietro and José Theodore vying for third place.

He never won the Vezina Trophy but was a finalist once and in the top-5 for votes another two times despite starting his career with three of four seasons consisting of GAAs below 2.00 and the other at 2.09. Sure, he was a Second Team All-Star in 2002-03 when he compiled a .932 save percentage, but that's pretty much as far as it goes in terms of achievements at the NHL level. In his era, and particularly his peak (2000-06), Patrick Roy was still King Of The Hill, Brodeur was building his legend, Miikka Kiprusoff was dominant, and Ed Belfour, Theodore and Jean-Sébastien Giguère were solid and consistent, as were Curtis Joseph, Olaf Kolzig, Nikolai Khabibulin and Tomas Vokoun. That didn't leave much room for the second tier of good goalies, which Turco was a part of.

Not that it's his fault with a .914 save percentage a low 2.17 in the postseason, but he never really had playoff success with the Dallas Stars, finishing with a losing record (21 wins, 26 losses) in 47 games and a bit of a reputation as a choker (which may very well be unfair); he was named the third goalie for Team Canada at the 2006 Olympics after Theodore tested positive for hair-growth product Rogaine, which can be used to mask steroids (he had a medical exemption, but chose to keep his perfect hairdo instead of watching the Games from the stands in Torino, which Turco was proud and honored to do).

I'll tell you what: I was kind of glad to see Turco have success, because it meant he got to replace Belfour, a goalie I liked even less. I'll also admit his glory years happened when I was shying away from regular-season hockey because Colorado Avalanche games were unavailable at the time in Canada, and my hometown Montréal Canadiens were a wreck that wasn't worth paying attention to; I'd also recently retired from the sport after two seasons in Juniors where I'd been a goon/third-string goalie, so I was a tad disillusioned with hockey in general, until 2002.

So, all told, perhaps I simply didn't get to witness the best that Turco had to offer.

He looked good in the Stars' ''original'' (in Dallas, at least) Star-shaped jersey, pre-golden pads:
It's card #FF-MT from Upper Deck's 2005-06 Ice set (and Frozen Fabrics sub-set), always one of my favourite designs year in and year out. It features a game-worn black jersey swatch, possibly from the away (inversed colours from this picture) uniform.

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