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Chiarelli: 50-50 that Turco clears waivers

by Dennis Ryan

TORONTO -- Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli addressed the media prior to Tuesday's game at Toronto, shedding some light on the Bruins' goaltending situation and the signing of Marty Turco to a one-year contract.

With backup Tuukka Rask out four-to-six weeks with a groin/abdomen strain, the hope is that the 36-year-old Turco can lighten the load on 37-year-old starter Tim Thomas as the Bruins embark on a busy season-ending stretch; Boston plays its final 18 games in the next 33 days.

Turco, who has 273 career NHL wins, has not played in the League this season -- but he was impressive in a 10-game stint with EC Red Bull Salzburg of the Austrian league.

"I spoke with the manager of (EC Red Bull Salzburg) who said he was in good condition and had some good games, Chiarelli said. "He did quite well."

Chiarelli cautioned that landing Turco was no sure thing.

"The fact that a goaltender like that is available after the trade deadline is fortunate to a certain degree but there are other teams that need goaltending help also," Chiarelli said. "I'd say it's 50-50 that he'll clear waivers."

Should another team swipe Turco prior to Wednesday's 12 Noon ET deadline, Chiarelli will recall Anton Khudobin from Providence, but not until the farm team's top goaltender returns from a wrist injury. He is expected back in two weeks.

"It's just kind of an imperfect storm, but every team has their injuries and deals with them," Chiarelli said. "Khudobin is a guy that we worked hard to put in place for No. 3 and he's hurt now. It is what it is. If we don't get Marty, if he doesn't clear, we're going to have to go with Khudobin."

For now, the backup to Thomas is Michael Hutchinson, a raw 22-year-old with no NHL experience.  So whether it is Turco, or eventually Khudobin, the Bruins are in need of a backup goaltender to give them solid play down the stretch and keep Thomas fresh.

"It's important, history shows it's important to spell (Thomas)." Chiarelli said. "So in an ideal situation you want to rest for the playoffs and that's what we're trying to do."

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