It’s no secret that I am a lover of goalies. My very, very weak explanation for this is that I played goalie for about two seconds when I was a kid. Regardless of my reasoning, it’s time that my two favorite players got their own entry here, since Russian and Bouche have.
First up, Marty Turco.
There he is, being great, like he does. Now, Marty Turco is a fantastic dude. Not just on the ice, but off the ice as well. He is the spokesperson for the Stars Stick With Reading program (you can find the video of the kickoff rally for that at the Dallas Stars website, it’s adorable). He donates 35 seats every home game to various foundations, allowing kids to experience the magic of Dallas Stars hockey. He’s one of the most approachable guys I’ve ever encountered in my life, and thanked me for being a fan and supporting the team. Um, you’re the one that deserves the thanks, dude.
On the ice, he is amazing. After three seasons of questionable goaltending in the playoffs, he went on to secure three shutout victories against the Vancouver Canucks in the 2006-07 season. I watched all of those games, and I honestly cannot understand why anyone would blame him for the four losses the Stars ended up with. The offense failed to capitalize. It’s a team effort, after all. But that’s a rant that will come later.
Turco is the only goaltender to win the Crozier twice. I’m still holding out for a Vezina for him, and would love to see him and Mike Smith win the Jennings. This leads me to my favorite dude in the world, Mike Smith.
I honestly can’t explain my insane amount of love for Mike Smith. I’m not going to say it’s just because he’s nice to look at, because honestly, there are tons of hockey players that are nice to look at (we’re fortunate enough here in Dallas to have several – I dare say we have the most attractive team in the NHL, really, not that it matters).
Mike is one awesome guy (so awesome that I feel comfortable referring to him by first name). I definitely think that if the Stars are going to go with anyone as a backup goalie to learn under Turco, Mike Smith is the guy. His play is very similar, in that he handles the puck very comfortably. He ended the 2006-07 season with 2.23 GAA, and a .912 save percentage, compared with Marty Turco’s 2.23 and .910, respectively. Last season, whenever Turco faltered, Smith would be put in, and performed very well. I suspect that this season, games will be split a little more evenly – last season, Smith played in 23 games, as opposed to Turco’s 67. This season, I expect a higher number for Smith.
While Turco is very approachable and nice, I’ve had one or two times where I’ve met him and he’s been short with me (that’s not a jab at his 5’11”, 185lbs. frame, just a turn of phrase). Mike Smith (who, for the record, is GIGANTIC), however, has been unbelievably nice every single time I’ve met him. Even when it was at a public place, that was not a Stars event, and I stood next to him at the bar and decided to tell him how rad I think he is, he was totally cool about it. I expressed to him that I didn’t want to be a jerk and bother him when he’s just trying to have a good time with his friends, and he reassured me that I was not being a jerk, that it can never be considered being a jerk when you’re telling someone how awesome they are. I think I may have melted, and part of me is still in a puddle on the balcony of the House of Blues.
Goalies really get the short end of the stick (no pun intended). If the team secures a win, the goalie gets little credit (unless it’s a shutout). However, if the team loses, it’s almost always apparently the goalie’s fault. What kind of a deal is that? It’s a rare human being that can be a goalie. You get hit with 6oz disks of vulcanized rubber constantly, you get little credit, and you don’t get to skate around and beat people up (well, you DO, but rarely). Props to the goalies!