There is no denying that a team’s most important and valuable player is their goaltender. In most cases they make or break the team. As of late the Bruins goaltending is struggling. With an injury to back-up goaltender Tuukka Rask and back-up back-up goaltender Anton Khudobin, GM Peter Chiarelli signed former Blackhawk Marty Turco to a contract.
At the start of this season, Turco was unable to find a team so he joined the Red Bull Salzburg of the Erste Bank Hockey League in Austria. Throughout the trade deadline Turco’s agent had been trying to find him a deal to get back into the NHL and with Tuukka being out 4-6 weeks (closer to the six week mark), Chiarelli saw him as a solid piece to the puzzle. He brings the Bruins depth and veteran presence with ten NHL seasons under his belt notching 273-165-26-40, with a 2.35 goals-against-average, a .910 save percentage and 41 career shutouts.
On March 11, Turco got his first nod in net as a Bruin as he relieved Tim Thomas against the Pittsburgh Penguins. While he faced twenty shots on net, he only allowed two of them to slide by unfortunately resulting in a 5-2 loss. Afterwards Turco admittedly stated that it was different going from Olympic-sized ice that he had been playing on to standard rink size, but that with each minute he felt more and more comfortable.
“It’s all a little different, a change of scenery. Just becoming a little bit more accustomed to it is the goal, making saves will probably help with the mental game. It’s all about confidence”-Marty Turco(via Boston Bruins Official Site)
Confidence. A word that has been slung around along with consistency as of late. In order to move forward the Bruins need to have complete confidence in their goaltending and themselves.
Taking a look at Tim Thomas‘s performance as of late, there is room to speculate as to whether the team is sensing the veteran is off as much as the fans are. In 9 out of the last 11 games opposing teams have been able to score on the Bruins on the opening minutes of the game. While this isn’t entirely Thomas’s fault, he does share part of the blame, allowing soft goals to squeeze by him more often than not.
In order for a team to have success they have to have confidence in one another and it is essential to have it in your goaltenders. Turco has been working diligently to get his timing back and feel more comfortable in between the pipes, while Thomas has been working his tail off starting in eight of the last nine games and relieving Rask in the other.
While it may take a couple of games for Turco to be confident in himself and find his legs again, Thomas will have an opportunity to rest. (Even if he states he is ‘fine,’ his performance says otherwise) Time will tell for the Bruins net minders and until then, fans are going to have to bear with the team as they try to find their way back to the victory column and race for the Cup.