Turco makes B's debut, gives Thomas much-needed rest

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Turco makes B's debut, gives Thomas much-needed rest

PITTSBURGH It wasnt the way Marty Turco wanted to break in with the Bruins, but at least the Boston coaching staff knows the 36-year-old has still got game.

Turco made his Bruins debut and got into his first NHL game in nearly a calendar year when Tim Thomas was yanked to start the second period in a 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the CONSOL Energy Center on Sunday afternoon.

His last NHL appearance was in relief for the Blackhawks last year on March 17, and he became the first goalie other than ThomasRask to appear in the Bruins game since Manny Fernandez on April 11, 2009.

Turco entered a 3-0 game to start the second period with the Bruins killing off a leftover penalty a fairly low-pressure situation given it appeared the game was already lost. Turco came in and made 20 saves over the final two periods with his scrambling, athletic style, and gave the undermanned Bs a chance to get back into the game. It was an encouraging first step for a goalie that will need to perform well over the next month of hockey.

He moves the puck pretty well. He was moving around a lot and talking quite a bit on the ice, and giving the guys some life. You could tell he was excited to be back out there playing, said Claude Julien. I like the way he came into a tough situation and the way he handled it.

Turco was at his best making a sprawling, double-stacked stop on a Jordan Staal partial breakaway in the second period, and then flashing a quick glove hand on an Arron Asham screamer in the final 20 minutes. He also showed a skill retrieving the puck and starting the Bruins transition game with crisp passes from the crease, and thats something that isnt exactly second nature for Thomas and Rask.

Turco was happy to make his Bs debut, but he wished it had been under more joyous circumstances.

My job is to be ready to get in there. My general sentiment is that it felt good to get back in there and play again, said Turco. But I always maintain that I play to win. Thats usually the final things I look at. So it was disappointing. We played hard and created opportunities to close the gap, but we couldnt. Weve got to figure this out quick.

Ive been playing this game a long time and crazy things can happen. The perspective Ive gained over the last 16 months or so is that I would be ready to get in there. It was good to get in there. Every minute I was in there I felt more comfortable. I just wish I could have made a couple more save to help the guys gain some momentum.

Instead Turco and the Bruins now find themselves up a mere two points in the Northeast Division with only two games in hand on the Ottawa Senators.

The lead seems to shrink with each passing day and the Bruins cant fully snap out of their midseason funk.

One silver lining: Julien and the Bs coaching staff will feel much more comfortable calling Turcos number to spell a clearly gassed Thomas over the next few games. Thomas now has an .860 save percentage in seven games during the month of March, and its pretty clear playing nine games in a row have worn down a Bruins goalie that hasnt played consistently well since the beginning of January.

There was some thought maybe Thomas had turned the corner when he executed 19 out of 20 saves against the Sabres in an impressive win last week, but the 37-year-old worsened as the back-to-back games unfolded this weekend. Turco should get the Tuesday night start against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and at least give Thomas three days off before potentially coming back against the Florida Panthers. Julien may even decide to give both games to Turco and really put Thomas on ice for a long stretch, but that may be difficult to do given the importance of the remaining 14 games on the schedule.

It was a good opportunity for Marty to get in there today. He skated this morning for about 20 minutes, so he was warmed up, said Julien. We were down by three goals to Pittsburgh, so it was a good chance to see how ready he was. I thought he did a great job. He certainly gave us a chance when he was in net.

Tim has played a lot lately, so this was certainly a good opportunity to give him some rest and let Marty take over.

Unfortunately everybody has become aware of Tuukka Rasks value to the Bruins and to his goaltending partner as Thomas numbers have steadily declined while his playing time has skyrocketed over the last month.

McQuaid on going in the NHL expansion draft: ‘I hope that’s not the case for me’

McQuaid on going in the NHL expansion draft: ‘I hope that’s not the case for me’

BOSTON – With the NHL expansion draft looming a couple of months in the future, it became much more of a reality for the Bruins this week now that the 2016-17 season is in the books.

Bruins GM Don Sweeney said on Thursday that he expects the Bruins to go the 7 (forwards) 3 (defensemen) 1 (goaltender) route protecting their roster from the June 21 expansion draft. That will still leave some useful roster players unprotected.

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Atop that available expansion list for the Bruins will be potential names Malcolm Subban, Riley Nash, Jimmy Hayes and Adam McQuaid, who could be headed to Vegas. Asked about the topic at this week’s breakup day for the players, McQuaid expressed his hopes that he isn’t the one selected by the Vegas Golden Knights. The 30-year-old McQuaid stayed healthy enough to play in 77 games this season, and posted two goals and 10 points along with a plus-4 while serving in a top-four role pretty much all season as Torey Krug’s defensive partner.

McQuaid also brought the toughness and quiet leadership element with his willingness to always stand up for his teammates and go toe-to-toe with the toughest guys in the league when it was called for. His midseason heavyweight bout with Matt Martin was one of the most memorable moments of the season. It’s an element the Bruins would miss if he was taken in the expansion draft.  

“Well, I hope not. I never thought of it that way, to be honest with you. Obviously, the reality of the situation is they’re picking somebody from every team,” said McQuaid. “So, I hope that’s not the case for me. I’ve won here and I’ve always said how much I love it back here. I can’t imagine playing for another team. It’s totally out of my control, but hopefully that’s not the case.”

McQuaid is signed for $2.75 million for the next seasons and it was clear he was missed on the penalty kill once he went down injured in the first-round series against the Ottawa Senators. As for the entire expansion process, Sweeney said they are currently whittling down the protected list while required to protect Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and David Backes to start by virtue of the no-movement language in their contracts.

Other young players, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo and Frank Vatrano among others, don’t need to be protected either after completing this season with two years or less of pro hockey experience. One of the most difficult decisions will come down to protecting either 25-year-old Colin Miller or 28-year-old Kevan Miller as the third defensemen. 

Whichever one of those D-men is left unprotected would join McQuaid as the most likely player to be selected by Vegas GM George McPhee after he spent a decent amount of time scouting the Black and Gold this season to get an idea of which player he wanted.

Here’s our best guess at which players will end up being protected by the Bruins:

Forwards (7): Bergeron, Krejci, Backes, Pastrnak, Marchand, Beleskey and Spooner

Defensemen (3): Chara, Krug and Colin Miller

Goaltender (1): Rask 


 

Brady’s pre-draft Facebook post tries to provide some inspiration to picks

Brady’s pre-draft Facebook post tries to provide some inspiration to picks

Pick No. 199 in 2000 tried to provide a little inspiration to the next generation of NFL draftees before the first selection Thursday night. 

Remember: they can't measure heart. Whether you're picked first, last or not at all, YOU decide what happens next, every day. Good luck!!!

Posted by Tom Brady on Thursday, April 27, 2017