Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli apparently determined that a well-rested Tim Thomas is a priority for the defending Stanley Cup champions. Chiarelli signed veteran goalie Marty Turco on the same night that word surfaced that Tuukka Rask will miss the next 4-6 weeks with an abdominal/groin injury.
Turco will join the Bruins unless he fails to clear waivers, but either way, he won’t be eligible for postseason play because the deadline for playoff-available waiver claims passed at the trade deadline. It’s clear that Boston decided to add him strictly to give the team an experienced backup for Thomas during the last month of the season.
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Turco will receive a pro-rated $600K salary for one year.
There are a few amusing elements to this story, which I’ll rattle off nice and quick:
- Turco is actually a little younger (36) than Thomas (37).
- Both players enjoyed distinguished NCAA careers; Turco wow a national championship at Michigan while Thomas enjoyed some great times alongside Martin St. Louis at the University of Vermont. (Oh yeah, Thomas is a Flint, Michigan resident so they can probably discuss their roots in depth if they’d like.)
- Thomas holds the single-season save percentage record from last season while Turco previously held the lowest goals against average for one season (1.72 in 2002-03, only to be broken by Miikka Kiprusoff in 03-04).
- If he clears waivers, Turco will play for back-to-back defending Cup champions as he flopped with the Chicago Blackhawks last season.
In other words, it would be awfully cool if the two end up being in the same goalie rotation, but there are a number of candidates who might be interested in a short-term fix in Turco. My guess is that the Ottawa Senators might benefit from the puck-moving veteran with Craig Anderson on the mend, but feel free to speculate about other squads who might snatch him up – or if he’ll go to the Bruins without incident.
From the NHL:
Pretty veteran crew, including three returnees from last year’s final.
Per the NHL, O’Halloran and O’Rourke will call tonight’s series opener from Consol.
PITTSBURGH — When Pete DeBoer was hired to coach the San Jose Sharks, he wasn’t totally cognizant of how much heartbreak the fan base had experienced throughout the years.
Now he knows.
“First year in the community, I didn’t realize kind of the baggage that was carried around,” DeBoer said this morning ahead of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. “Twenty-five-year season-ticket holders coming up to you with tears in their eyes and crying.”
The Sharks, of course, have never been this far in the playoffs. Prior to this year, they’d made it three times to the Western Conference Final, losing each time.
More painful were the first-round exits. Like in 2009 when they won the Presidents’ Trophy and got knocked out by the Ducks, and two years ago when they led the Kings 3-0 before dropping four straight.
It was only after the Sharks beat the Blues that DeBoer fully realized the “gravity of what they’ve been through” as fans in San Jose, and “how important this is to them.”
Not that he’s satisfied with getting this far.
“The business at hand now is to get off on the right foot, plant the right seeds for this series, impose our game,” he said. “Every series is the same — it’s whatever team can impose their game on the other team the quickest and for the longest. That’s our goal here tonight.”
Related: For Pete DeBoer, San Jose was the perfect landing spot
Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar will spend part of his offseason trying to help Slovenia qualify for the Olympics.
RTV Slovenia has the story here.
The qualification games will be played September 1-4 in Minsk. Slovenia is in a group with Belarus, Denmark and Poland. The winner of the group will qualify for the Olympics.
The NHL reportedly has no issue with Kopitar’s participation, even though the league has yet to commit to sending its players to Pyeongchang.
Slovenia made its Olympic debut in ice hockey at the 2014 Games in Sochi.
Kopitar will also represent Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup later in September.
Related: Slovenia beats Slovakia for historic win
PITTSBURGH — Matt Nieto is healthy, and ready to go.
But it doesn’t look like he’ll go tonight.
The San Jose Sharks are unlikely to make any lineup changes for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in Pittsburgh — at Monday’s optional morning skate, Nieto stayed out late with the extras while the guy he’d (presumably) replace in the lineup, Dainius Zubrus, told NHL.com he was in.
Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer wouldn’t reveal any lineup decisions during his morning media availability, instead talking up both Nieto (for his speed) and Zubrus (for his “heavy” game), adding he liked the versatility the two give the club on a night-by-night basis.
Nieto suffered an upper-body injury in Game 6 of the Nashville series, and missed all of the Western Conference Final.
Prior to getting hurt, he had three points in 11 games — this after a regular season in which he scored eight goals and 17 points in 67 games.