Among all of the Blackhawks' new acquisitions this off-season, by far the most accomplished was Marty Turco, the three-time All-Star who agreed to come to Chicago with a championship in his sights.
We solicited fan questions on @NHLBlackhawks, the team's official Twitter account, then caught up with Turco to get a few of them answered.
Marty, what has been your initial impression of the Blackhawks organization?
I had a great introduction yesterday, with my press conference. I met with [President] John McDonough, got to talk with Stan [Bowman]. I had dinner with him and Coach Quenneville. When I say it’s a first-class organization, I really mean it. I never thought I could feel so comfortable from the get-go as they have made me so far. The expectations are certainly high, but I like that the organization isn’t resting on its laurels of just winning the Cup – they want to win another one. They want to be as good as they can be, they care about their fans, and it’s obvious when you hear anyone in the front office talk about it.
Marty, what kind of advice has Tony Esposito given you on being a Blackhawk and playing in Chicago?
We just talked a little bit during the media tour yesterday. He’s excited for me and the opportunity that we have with this team. He offered his advice if I ever need it, if I ever think I want it. He’s been a great man, and I’ve idolized him for a long time. It’s nice to start that relationship with him.
Was there any consideration on your part to ask Tony O's permission to wear #35?
No, there was really no chance of that. I actually think it’s impossible – I think there’s a league rule that say if a number is retired, it stays retired for good. If there’s ever a reason not to wear #35, it’s to see it up in the rafters every night. He’s the reason that I wore #35, so I was happy to switch.
How will seeing fewer shots per game behind a tighter defense change your approach to a game?
Hopefully it will keep me fresher for more of the season. It’s not anything new to me in my career. When I first got to Dallas, the defense was quite stingy, and when I played in college I would only see a few shots a period. I’ve been on some good teams in my life, and generally the fewer shots I see, the better. We play to win; it doesn’t matter how many shots I see a night.
If fans are going to chant my name, they can chant whatever they want. But I have to give them a reason to do it. - Marty Turco
You had sick gold pads last year with Dallas. Anything special planned now that you're with the Hawks?
No. I liked the gold pads too. Some people weren’t fans. I thought it looked great in the Dallas uniform. But with the classic Chicago colors, I’m not really a white pad guy. I’ll probably be wearing some red stuff.
Why did you choose goalie as your position?
I played out when I was 8 or 9 years old. But when you’re young, people always ask who wants to play in net, and sometimes you take turns. My turn came around, and it felt a little more natural than for other guys. I maybe had some instant success, and that drew me towards it. I played half-in, and half-out when I was 9, but I was in net full-time since I was 10. I was fun to score goals, but it was kind of devilishly fun to take one away from somebody. I’ve enjoyed it ever since.
You had a lot of competitive teams who would have loved to sign you. Why did you turn them all down for the Hawks?
It kind of reminds me about how I went to [the University of Michigan]; I didn’t know for a long time if I would make it there. I knew that they were interested in recruiting me, and I passed on a lot of other schools who wanted me. It was the same case this summer: once I knew there was a small chance Chicago would want to sign me, which I didn’t even think was possible, I knew I needed to know what the answer was. It was all about wanting to be here and having a chance to win, and to wear this uniform. The whole Chicago Blackhawks package has almost been a dream come true.
How big will your mentoring role be with [likely backup goaltender] Corey Crawford?
I haven’t talked with Corey, but I look forward to it. There are only two goaltenders on a team, and in my experience, I’ve always been tight with the other goaltender. I cherish the opportunity to help Corey along as he gets his feet wet and grows at this level. We’re going to have some fun together, work as hard as we can and give the guys in front of us as much confidence as they need. I want to get him on his way to having a great career, which I know he will have.
You've been with the Stars since your first year in the NHL. What's it like to switch teams after all those years?
Well, the jury is still out on what it’s like. We haven’t even had training camp yet. It’s definitely weird to think of it, but once you’re looking at the task ahead, it feels more natural. It’s definitely a big change, but one that’s welcome for my family and me.
The Blackhawks love nicknames. What do you think yours should be around the locker room?
I’ve dodged some nicknames over my career, and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad thing. It’s just shorter forms of my last name. If fans are going to chant my name, they can chant whatever they want, but I have to give them a reason to do it.
As you’ve had gargoyles on his masks for your entire career, what made you first choose that symbol and what does it mean to you?
When I was starting out, I thought about wearing the winged helmet like the Michigan football and hockey helmets because I fell in love with it during my time there. But when Ray Bishop, my first painter, and I thought about what to put on my first mask, I wanted a little something that was symbolic. The gargoyles are the gatekeepers and protectors, and to have them sitting on brick walls have been the two consistent symbols throughout my career. Now it’s just amazing to see how they’ve grown and become a part of me as a pro. It’s also interesting to see the things fans give me; statues, mini-replicas… it’s been pretty special. I wasn’t the “Dungeons and Dragons” kid growing up, but the image has suited me and I like having a meaningful mask and one that’s very personal to me.