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|Will & Grace star Eric McCormack sang both anthems after his pregame meeting with Turco |
Marty Turco is telling us with his diary from his All-Star weekend in St. Paul, Minnesota. Here's his recap of the final day -- the actual game -- and the events surrounding it.
11:30 a.m.: Bus to Xcel Energy Center, arrive at noon for 2 p.m. faceoff. Upon arriving, Turco meets Eric McCormack, actor on the NBC sitcom Will & Grace.
"I was summoned to meet him. Somebody from the NHL said he was there and that he had a friend who was a big hockey fan. I told him I was a big fan and that I think it's a great show. He actually sang both national anthems. ...You think he's just a guy who plays a lawyer on the show but he's got a great voice. He's actually very talented. We just talked for about 10 minutes, I expressed my enjoyment of the show and he talked about hockey and about living in Texas. And then we made fun of a few people. That's what you do in show business. I'm all about that stuff."
12:15 p.m.: Turco begins changing, signs several things along the way for the NHL and joins Colorado's Joe Sakic for a workout.
"Last year they had us signing things all at once, but that's pretty overwhelming. This year they had six guys who at any moment would ask you to sign up to 10 things. I'm walking with a hot pack, 'hey, sign this.' I'm jumping on the ball, 'hey, sign this.' I'm coming out of the shower, going to the bathroom, 'hey, sign this.' But I think it's pretty good that way, you only do it for 30 seconds at a time and you don't feel like you are taking the whole day. Then I did some workout stuff with Joe Sakic, and that was very interesting. I guess I sat in there and talked to a lot of guys, but he won the MVP, so I guess that's newsworthy. He's a really nice guy, one of the best. Then I talked to Bill Clement and tried to stress that goal equipment is not the issue. I'm an advocate for goaltenders, at least this weekend.
1:20 p.m.: During warmup, Turco has a conversation with Joe Thornton, who played junior hockey in Turco's hometown of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Then, during warmup, he gets hit on the instep of his left foot from a shot by St. Louis' Keith Tkachuk -- a foot he had injured just a few weeks ago.
"First, I almost fell when I stepped over the blueline. Then, our captain, Markus Naslund, asks me what I want for shots to get warm. So we decide, and during one point, in a 3-on-2 drill, I'm watching a rebound go into the corner. And I didn't know Tkachuk did this, but he doesn't look when he shoots. Now I know. That will come in very handy in the later stages of the season. But he snapped one about three inches off the ice, and it hit me in the side of the foot when I wasn't even looking. I didn't go down, but it smarted. I took about three more shots at best, and I said, 'I've got a sore foot. I don't know what I'm going to do.' I figure I'm a game-time decision at this point. So I roll out of the net and Sakic asks me if I'm all right. Keith kind of trolled by and didn't know that he had hit me in a non-protected area. I was hoping the feeling would go away. I probably would have taken more warmup, but I was kind of score.
1:45 p.m.: The fix is on, and the joke is not only going to be on Tkachuk, but also on Turco's Western Conference teammates and the members of the Eastern Conference.
"Dwayne Roloson, who I have known and talked to for a long time, thought it would be a good idea to really play this up. So they went and got the doctor in the back room to help us. I went to my stall and he came to look at me. Roly and I had this thing going, nobody else knew. He's grabbing my knee and I'm saying, no, it's my ankle. I'm whispering to him, and he says 'does it hurt when I push there,' and I say 'ooh, that hurts' really loud. He asked if I thought I could play, and I said yeah, but they said maybe we should take X-Rays. But I said, 'it's one period. I think I can just play it and get it over with.' So then he starts talking about giving me a shot or something, and that's when people in the room really started listening. It became a whirlwind in there. He said, 'we'll do a handshake deal, don't say anything and I'll give you a shot.' He told me he could do it right through the skate, and he really does come back with this huge needle -- a real needle. So I start leaning over on Modano acting like it's hurting taking this shot. Everybody thinks I'm taking a needle, and at this point half the room is saying 'what is the deal? He's taking a needle for an All-Star game.' We're trying not to laugh, but we're playing it up.
"Tkachuk comes over and asks me 'are you really hurting that bad?' He was feeling pretty bad. I told him 'I'm fine, I'll go play, give the fans what they want and get out of here.' Even Billy Guerin thought I took the needle. The funny thing was even the guys in the Eastern Conference room thought I was hurt too. They heard I took the needle and played the game. I let them think that the rest of the day."
2 p.m.: Shortly after opening faceoff, Turco gets his first test and makes a point-blank glove save against Jeremy Roenick.
"I was actually falling back on to the net, and I went to catch myself. I put him hand on the crossbar and the puck went in there. A remarkable set of circumstances endured there, but it looked good, so I have no problem with that."
2:45: Turco finishes his one period of play, allowing just one goal while making several great saves.
"I didn't get as bombarded as I thought I would, and I had a chance to get an assist, which would have been cool. I had a couple of nice dishes. We're there for show, right? But all the guys were great, and we had a great time."
Postgame: A dinner out with family and friends and the chance to relish in his first ever All-Star start.
"It was different, because last year everyone was unfamiliar with me. They all wanted to talk about me and get to know me, but this year I felt more like people were familiar with me. I know I got treated spectacular, and I knew a lot of people from before so that made it more comfortable for me. It was weird because I was the senior goalie from our team. I wasn't the one from around town everyone was talking about, but it was more like 'he's been here, done that.' I liked that.
"I did mention to Eric McCormack that I matched better than anyone else. I looked the part because my green mask matched the green jersey and pants. I figured, knowing his character on the show, that he would appreciate that."
"It was a great time, really a great time, and now I'm looking forward to going back to Texas."