Is Marty Turco the new Rogie Vachon?
Think about it. They’re both great goalies that play in smaller hockey markets. They put up similar numbers. They’re both carbon-based life forms.
One other thing, too. They’ve both never backstopped their way to a Stanley Cup.
Sure, Vachon won two Cups early in his career with the Montreal Canadiens, but that was as a backup. In those two playoff runs, he only started 10 playoff games, playing behind Gump Worsley.
But Vachon took over as a starter he couldn’t produce. In 1970, his first season as a starter, the Canadiens failed to make the playoffs. The next spring, Montreal coach Al MacNeil went with rookie Ken Dryden over Vachon for the playoffs, which all but ended his career in Montreal.
So it was off to Los Angeles with Vachon. Despite posting some strong statistics for the Kings, Vachon did not see the playoffs until 1974, when they lost to Chicago in five games.
Twice the Kings finished second in their division, and three times they finished third. Under Vachon, they made five straight playoff appearances, although they never made it past the second round. In his five years with the Kings, Vachon would record 171 wins, 32 shutouts and was named a second-team all-star twice, in 1975 and 1977.
In August of 1978, Vachon signed with the Detroit Red Wings, a team that had gone 32-34-14 the season before. He did not meet much success with the team, winning just 30 games, and posting a GAA above 3.60 in his two seasons with the club. His finished his career with Boston, splitting starts with Marco Baron.
By career’s end, Vachon had won 355 games, a career GAA of 2.99 and recorded 51 shutouts. His postseason numbers weren’t too shabby, either: 23 wins, two shutouts and a GAA of 2.77. Vachon had his number retired by the Kings, played in three all-star games and a Canada Cup, winning six of his seven starts.
Yet, in the decade dominated by his Montreal replacement of Dryden, Vachon was often overlooked. Throughout the 70s, he never won a Vezina, never made it past the second round, which perhaps explains why he has yet to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Which brings us to Marty Turco.
Since starting his career in 2000-01, two seasons after the Stars won the Stanley Cup, Turco has won 207 games for the Stars and his GAA is 2.15. In 2005-06, he won 41 games for the Stars. In 2002-03, he posted a league-leading GAA of 1.72.
But, like Vachon, Turco has never had success in the postseason. Only once has he made it deep into the playoffs, when he went to the second round in 2002-03. Since then, he has yet to make it out of the first round. Last year, for example, Turco posted a GAA of 1.30 in Dallas’ first-round loss to the Vancouver Canucks.
Twice he has played in the All-Star game, but he has never won any awards for his play. In an era dominated by better-known goalies – Marty Brodeur, Dominic Hasek, Mikka Kiprusoff – Turco has gone under-valued.
Perhaps, like Vachon, it is because he plays in a market that is easily overlooked by most fans or because of his lack of success in the post-season.
However, unlike Vachon, he still has a chance to turn it around. However, at the age of 32, these playoffs could be that chance. However, their first-round series against the Ducks will be a tough match.
But unless Turco wants to be remembered as his generations Vachon, this is a series he has to win.