WILMINGTON, MA -- Today, just after noon, goaltender Marty Turco hit the ice for the first time as a Boston Bruin.
Turco, signed by Boston on Monday, was waiting to clear waivers before he could join the Black & Gold and officially resume his NHL career.
"Well, it’s just another chapter in the book," said the goalie, who wore a mask painted for the Olympic games in Torino (where Turco was a member of Team Canada) and gold pads presumably in the style of the Dallas stars.
"You get dressed, prepare for practice – and if you do you have to adhere to the rules and wait for the nod and you sit there in the bullpen," said the goaltender, describing his wait on NHL waivers. "More, it felt like I was 15 years old again, waiting to practice with the big boys.
"It was even a better feeling when I got the thumbs up from Pete, so I got out there with some excitement in my blood."
That excitement was at a high level thanks to Turco's re-insertion into "The Show."
"Today was good actually, I was a little apprehensive – not that I’ve done it too often coming from a long travel day from Europe," he said. "It felt good, more than anything it's good to be back on the ice with some bright lights and NHL players – never mind the Boston Bruins.
"It was a great day for my family and I, I felt good and I was pretty appreciative of the phone call."
Turco admitted that he hasn't fully grasped the situation at hand.
"Last year, being a Blackhawk was a special feeling, they were also the defending champs, but Original Six with some great history," said Turco. "Same goes for this club, and the difference is they had a lot of change on Chicago – this team doesn’t.
"The team’s intact from last year, that sets them apart which you can just tell the way they play, act and talk. Because their togetherness – you can feel that when you walk in the locker room instantly, that this team is competitive, their together and their in it to win as a whole and they faced adversity, they’re going through some at the moment.
"Like I said from the onset, it's a special feeling for me. I couldn’t pick a better team to come to. Although it wasn’t any wishful thinking on my part -- any team would be great -- the NHL is a special place, especially with the Bruins."
Asked about his own goals, Turco shied away from making any pronouncements about what he expects from his play during the remainder of the regular season (as Turco is ineligible to play in the postseason).
"At the end of the day, my actions will speak volumes and what I believe as a person and as a player is to act like a winner and hold yourself in high regards and esteem in terms of expectations," said the goalie. "That seems to coincide with this club. Especially with what they’ve accomplished, and what they’re trying to accomplish this year is even tougher."
That said, Turco set a standard for himself.
"Give these guys all they can handle in practice and make them better as a teammate, a goalie, and challenge them and instill confidence with them on the ice," said Turco. "Act like a winner and usually things take care of themselves."
Turco is a winner. A 10-year NHL veteran who has played in 538 regular season games with the Dallas Stars and Chicago Blackhawks, Turco, 36, owns a 273-165-43 record with a .910 Save Percentage, 2.35 Goals Against Average and 41 shutouts and has notched 30+ wins in a season six times.
This season, the Sault Ste. Marie, ON native, who was originally drafted by the Dallas Stars in the fifth round (124th overall) of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, played for EC Red Bull Salzburg in the Austrian First Division. There he made four regular season appearances and recorded a 2.64 Goals Against Average and .934 Save Percentage. He also played in six postseason games for Red Bull Salzburg and registered a 3.16 GAA And .911 Save Percentage.
However, the goalie doesn't expect to take too long getting back to NHL speed.
"It’s just more of getting back in the flow and adjusting really won’t take much in term of speed or shots," said Turco. "The ice is a little bit smaller [than in Europe], things happen quicker and they are better players with the utmost confidence – a big reason why they’re in the NHL.
"So, I don’t know per se, but got to do my work and work along with Bob and with the guys here today to get ready for action and to keep these guys on a good path."
Although Turco did have a good experience in Europe and said he has a great deal of gratitude for the opportunity to play overseas, he admitted that not getting an NHL contract earlier this season was a "real kick in the pants."
"Part of the reason I feel I had success, or made the NHL that matter, is because of the expectations I have and where you expect to be," explained Turco. "So, when you know you’ve had better and you disappoint in previous seasons, to be in the league or have offers from others can be demeaning.
"But as difficult as it was, I went to bed a hockey player, and still woke up like one. I knew I still had stuff to give in this league, and I would really kick myself hard if I missed an opportunity if I wasn’t ready.
"That’s the one thing I can look in the mirror for this season at this moment and be most proud of. Is that I skated as often as I could to be ready for a situation like this."