Tag: Marty Turco

James Reimer

Goaltending remains Leafs’ biggest x-factor


Toronto’s core of forwards is pretty sound at this point, and only getting better thanks to the addition of James van Riemsdyk and the growth of youngsters like Nazem Kadri, Matt Frattin, and Joe Colborne.

Their defense seems similarly strong, led by Dion Phaneuf, John-Michael Liles, Jake Gardiner, and Carl Gunnarsson.

Still, whether or not the Leafs are a playoff team is open for debate, and the main point of criticism is their goaltending. Toronto might still make a move, but as things currently stand, they are likely to enter the season with James Reimer and Ben Scrivens as their goaltending duo.

Reimer had a remarkable rookie season, but his sophomore campaign was derailed early because of a concussion. Even when he returned, he was never able to get back on track.

One potential alternative would be to acquire Roberto Luongo, but the length of his contract makes that problematic. If the Toronto Maple Leafs are still three-to-five years away from competing for the Stanley Cup, then Luongo would be in his mid-to-late 30s before Toronto is ready to make a serious playoff run.

The alternative would be to get a veteran backup to help take some pressure off Reimer and maybe serve as a calming influence, but the unrestricted free agent market is devoid of any ideal candidates. Ty Conklin, Marty Turco, and Brent Johnson are still unsigned, but at this point the Leafs might not be comfortable having any of those three serve as their starter for extended periods should Reimer struggle.

With that in mind, it’s entirely possible that Toronto will not be able to make a significant move to address their goaltending situation over the summer. With that in mind, Toronto’s odds of making the playoffs in 2012-13 might be firmly tied to Reimer’s ability to bounce back.

Journeyman goalie Auld signs in Austria

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Given the number of times Alex Auld has changed locales over the last seven years, it’s no surprise his travels are now taking him to Europe.

Salzburg, to be exact.

EC Red Bull Salzburg — the four-time Austrian League champion — recently announced the 31-year-old Auld has signed on for the 2012-13 campaign.

(Red Bull is same team that employed Marty Turco before he signed a late-season deal with the Boston Bruins. It’s currently coached by longtime NHL bench boss Pierre Page and features ex-NHLers Shawn Hunwick and Rob Davison.)

“Alex Auld is a highly talented goalie and a strong character,” Page told the team website. “He believes in the Red Bull Hockey Model and that his stint in Salzburg will help him to take another step in the right direction.”

Once a promising young netminder (he was Vancouver’s team MVP in 2005-06), Auld has spent the last few years bouncing around the NHL.

Since 2006-07 he’s gone from Florida to Phoenix to Boston to Ottawa to Dallas to New York (Rangers) to Montreal, then back to Ottawa last season — where he fell out of favor after the Sens acquired Ben Bishop.

Auld has a 91-88-2-32 record in 237 career NHL games with a .904 save percentage and 2.80 GAA.

Tuukka Rask might be ready for the playoffs

Tuukka Rask

The Bruins come into the playoffs with a few injuries of note to Johnny Boychuk and Nathan Horton, but backup goalie Tuukka Rask is still out with a groin/abdomen injury that’s kept him out of action since early March.

Now with the playoffs about to start this week and things not looking good for Horton, attention has turned to Rask to see if he’ll be able to backup Tim Thomas as the Bruins look to defend the Stanley Cup. CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty hears it from Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli that Rask is right on schedule for when he’s due to return.

“I’d characterize Johnny [Boychuk] and Adam [McQuaid] as day-to-day in their respective injuries. I think Tuukka’s is maybe a little bit more than day-to-day. He’s been pretty aggressive with his rehab,” said Chiarelli. “I don’t have my calendar in front of me but I think he might be bang on [with a six-week rehab]. We’ll see how he goes the next couple of days, but we certainly have a capable backup in [Anton] Khudobin [if Rask can’t play].”

If you’re wondering about Marty Turco, he’s not eligible to play for the Bruins in the playoffs because he signed out of Switzerland after the trade deadline.

It’s just the backup goalie position but we’ve seen backups play more-than important roles in the past and the Bruins would like to be fully squared away in goal. Looks like they won’t be too far off from that after all.

Boston has been the land of opportunity for goalies this season

Anton Khudobin

The Boston Bruins will have another new face in goal this evening when Anton Khudobin makes his Bruins debut. Khudobin, 25, will be the fourth goalie Boston has used this season, joining the likes of Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask and Marty Turco.

Of all those goalies, Turco is the one Khudobin best relates to.

Turco, 36, was out of the league when the Bruins signed him to replace the injured Rask in March. Prior to joining Boston, he’d been playing in the Austrian league after failing to secure an NHL contract following a one-year stint in Chicago.

All told, Turco went almost an entire calendar year between NHL starts.

That’s something Khudobin can relate to. His last NHL start came with Minnesota in Jan. 2011 — a 4-1 win over Edmonton — and his career has been a whirlwind ever since. After the Oilers win, he was sent back Minnesota’s AHL affiliate in Houston, then traded to Boston at the deadline and dispatched to AHL Providence, where he played well.

That strong finish in Providence paved the way for an emergency recall in last year’s playoffs, where he was included on the Bruins’ team picture and awarded a Stanley Cup ring.

Fast forward to today, where Khubodin will finally play for the Bruins. Needless to say, he’s stoked.

“It’s a great feeling. It’s always fun to play at this level. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity,” said Khudobin, who returned from a wrist injury in March. “We’ll see what happens before the game, but I’m sure there will be some butterflies there. It’s my first NHL start in a couple of years.

“But at the same time I’m ready to play and I’m pretty excited.”

There’s a possibility Khudobin could play an even bigger role in this year’s playoffs. With Rask still hurt and Turco postseason ineligible, there’s a strong chance Khudobin will be Thomas’ No. 2 when the playoffs start on Apr. 11.

PHT Morning Skate: Theo goes from friend to foe

Lynne Sladky/AP

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

The Florida Panthers’ morning skate might just change things, but George Richards reports that Jose Theodore looks primed to start for the Cats, who could clinch a playoff spot and the Southeast Division title with a point or more. If that isn’t juicy enough, note that Theo is just two seasons removed from being a Washington Capitals goalie – the team he’s facing tonight. (On Frozen Pond)

Vincent Damphousse backhanded the Montreal Canadiens’ GM job chase off of his to-do list. (The Canadian Press)

Meanwhile, the Habs are contacting other possible general manager candidates, such as Sidney Crosby’s agent Pat Brisson. (TSN)

After watching another shaky outing from Marty Turco, the Boston Bruins might as well shuffle out the scrubs in net, right? Feel free to discuss Antonin Khudobin’s status as a scrub or not in the comments, as Barbara Matson reports that he might be the next guy to get a start in their goalie roulette. (Bruins blog)

Dale Hunter hopes that the Capitals took a little lesson from the Buffalo Sabres’ desperate game-tying goal from Tuesday. (CSNWashington.com)

Mike Bossy said that he “sees a little of himself” in Steven Stamkos. I’m guessing it has something to do with scoring buckets of goals. (Montreal Gazette)

The Hockey News’ Ryan Kennedy believes that a high draft pick and a plentiful war chest of money for a serviceable goalie – Tomas Vokoun, anyone? – gives the Toronto Maple Leafs some reason for optimism in the future. (The Hockey News via Puck Daddy)

Douglas Murray is chomping at the bit to return for the San Jose Sharks. (CSNBayArea.com)

Jeremy Roenick believes that the Vancouver Canucks have quietly become the cream of the crop in the Western Conference. (The Word According to JR)