When fellow goaltender and close friend Tuukka Rask when down with an injury last Saturday at TD Garden in a matinee game against the New York Islanders, Tim Thomas knew that his work load would likely increase. Losing their safety net, and the man who many believe to be the future of the franchise between the pipes, the Bruins were left in the dark for just over forty-eight hours when it comes to the severity of Rask’s injury. While the B’s waited for the news, they would call up former Providence Bruins (AHL) and Reading Royals (ECHL) goaltender Michael Hutchinson to the team’s roster. Under normal circumstances, it would be Anton Khudobin – who has a few games of NHL experience under his belt for the Minnesota Wild – who would get the call to the big club, but the Russian youngster has been sidelined with an injury of his own and isn’t expect to return to the ice for another two weeks.
Late Monday evening, news came down the pipe that the Finnish ‘tender would miss the next 4-6 weeks with what’s being called a "lower abdomen/groin strain". The Boston Globe would later suggest that Rask’s absence would be closer to the six week mark than the four.
Not long after the revelation of the severity of Rask’s ailment, reports began to surface that the B’s had inked veteran netminder Marty Turco to a one year contract worth $600K. The 36-year-old former Dallas Star had been spending his time playing out this season overseas with the EC Red Bull Salzberg. Despite the fact that Hutchinson would have likely been a viable back-up for the Black and Gold, Tim Thomas seemed to be enjoying the luxury of having another goaltender whose been around the block a time or two when I spoke to him following Thursday’s victory over the Buffalo Sabres.
"He's got experience. I enjoyed having Hutch (Michael Hutchinson) up here and getting to know him a little bit. For me personally, I'm glad to have Marty here. To get to know him as a person. He's another goalie that's had a long career in the NHL." – Tim Thomas
After spending four years at the University of Michigan, Turco would go on to enjoy a successful ten-year NHL career. The Sault Ste. Marie (Ontario) native spent the 2010-11 season with the (then) defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, but is more widely heralded for the nine seasons he spent in the Southwest hockey purgatory of Dallas, Texas.
Following his team’s early exit from the playoffs last spring, Turco opted to use his time to join Kevin Weekes and David Amber (amongst others) in providing in-depth post-season analysis over at the NHL Network.
"I watched him on TV a bit last year and I enjoyed the way he broke down the game from a goaltender's perspective. It's good to have somebody here to talk about issues on a day-to-day basis and develop another friendship. Goalies are cool." -- Tim Thomas
While not many back-ups in the NHL could match the type of security blanket that Tuukka Rask gives Tim Thomas and the Bruins, bringing another veteran into the fold is never a bad idea. Despite Turco not being eligible for the post-season, due to NHL regulations, he could provide the B’s with some great value IF he can help take some of the load off of Tim Thomas as we enter the final stretch run of the regular season.