Many hockey fans and pundits alike were quite surprised that the Chicago Blackhawks walked away from their Stanley Cup champion goaltender Antti Niemi.
Here was a guy that just won the Cup for a team that had failed to do so in 49 years; and yet, they did not want to sign him for $2.75 million. Instead, they signed free agent goaltender Marty Turco to a one-year deal; and for Turco, this year could mean everything.
Turco has been an NHL goaltender for the last nine seasons, compiling 262 wins, a 2.31 GAA, 40 shutouts and a .911 save percentage. Certainly not terrible numbers for the 34 year-old (will be 35 on August 13) netminder.
However, one thing that has eluded him in his career is Lord Stanley. He helped get his team to the Western Conference Finals back in the 2007-08 season, only to be knocked out by the eventual champion Detroit Red Wings.
In other postseasons, he was fairly inconsistent and got the label of being a solid regular season netminder who could not step it up in the playoffs. Not exactly a great label for a guy who is coming to a team that won the Cup and who will be battling hard to defend it in the 2010-11 season.
For Turco, this could be his last year to get that Cup and prove to hockey fans and media alike that he can lead a team to the most coveted trophy in sports. If he doesn't get it done, he would have certainly had a solid NHL career but with a big hole on his resume.
It's now or never for Marty Turco -- and hopefully for the Blackhawks, it's now.
Our podcast 'RLD Hockey Talk' is LIVE every Wednesday afternoon at 1:00 ET/Noon CT. Some of our notable guests in past episodes have been Dustin Brown, Doc Emrick, John Buccigross, Dave Strader, E.J. Hradek, Elliotte Friedman and Jay Grossman.