Marty Turco Back Into Picture For Chicago Blackhawks

Before Sunday, Marty Turco was nearly an afterthought. They play of his backup, Corey Crawford, has Turco serving unofficially as a second-string goalie, though Joel Quenneville never made any indication that there was a changing of the guard.

Turco came into the season as the unquestioned starter, with such little experience for Crawford coming into 2010-11. His puckhandling style excited the Blackhawks' brass and blueliners, who expected him to essentially serve as a third defenseman on the ice.

That excitement was short-lived. Turco was bad, but the defense in front of him wasn't much better. After a couple of solid starts at the beginning of the year, fans tired of seeing Marty Turco scrambling around for the puck in the crease.

Fast forward to Sunday. Corey Crawford was out sick, giving Turco just his third start in the month of December. With Hawks fans nervous before a tilt with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Turco gave the performance of the season in net. He gave up just the one goal, which didn't come until garbage time late in the game, stopping 26 in all.

What changed in that performance? The defense. Still used to Crawford's style, the defense didn't get caught out of position as they had so much this season with Turco. They didn't allow many shots and that one goal didn't come until late.

Tuesday brought many of the concerns that were quietly had to the forefront of Blackhawks Nation. The defense does not play well in front of Marty Turco. While he had allowed some bad goals, we hadn't seen a performance like Tuesday's against the St. Louis Blues from Turco.

The former Star was stellar in net all night, stopping 40 shots for a team that never got off the bus with him. In what could have been a blowout, as the Blues outplayed the Hawks all night, Turco kept them in it until the bitter end.

Turns out this Turco guy isn't as bad as many Hawks fans had him pegged as. It's a matter of the way the D plays in front of him. Crawford's style is similar to Antti Niemi, both of whom have had the Hawks rally around them the last two years. Turco, on the other hand, handles the puck, so the defensemen have a tendency to jump into the offense more than normal, leaving Turco out to dry on many occassions.

Tuesday's loss made the incompetence of the defense more clear than that of Turco. Something about the two just doesn't mesh, which will have to change if this team is going to be taken seriously as a contender later in the year.


George Prax's picture

I always liked Turco... he can be pretty bad at times so you gotta wonder if (when, in all likelihood) he's going to drop off, but he's certainly playing behind the right team. I think he gives the Hawks a chance to contend again, as they may not be a sgood as last year and will have to rely more on goaltending.

Russell Dornisch's picture

I'll tell you when he'll drop off... When the team needs the wins! He is a huge choker, should have gone to the sharks. I'm just happy he stayed in the West, Avs own Turco!