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Saturday, 01.7.2006 / 11:00 PM CT / News
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January 8, 2006

How important is goaltending? I'm reminded of one my favorite hockey one-liners that says "goaltending is 80% of your game... unless you don't have it... then it's 100%". Great goaltenders win championships and bring organizations long-term success and stability. Winning championships and winning large numbers of games and large games over a long period of time is what the whole business is about.

In the last decade or so -- teams with elite goaltending have won Stanley Cups. Colorado had Patrick Roy, Dallas found Ed Belfour, and New Jersey has Martin Brodeur. But until those goaltenders won a cup -- they hadn't won a cup -- if that makes sense. Montreal's transgression is Colorado's pot of gold; the aggression lands Ed Belfour, and New Jersey knows exactly what it has and signs Marty Brodeur and doesn't let him leave.

Oh there have been the occasional fun little runs orchestrated by the positions' "one-hit wonders", and most teams struggle to find a great one, or even a good one and hence are never or rarely in the mix. Organizations then must first find one, draft or sign him, help him develop, and then keep him around.

General Manager Doug Armstrong knew that signing Marty Turco to a 4-year multi-million dollar extension needed to be done, and done sooner rather than later. Knowing there would be many suitors for his prodigious puck-stopper, the GM has now put his money and the team's future in the hands of the 30 year-old Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native.

It is the second time Armstrong has had to sign Turco. You may remember that the 2003 training camp opened without Marty Turco. It was the year of J.S. Giguere and his over-inflated gear capturing the Conn Smythe Trophy -- and following that Stanley Cup loss to Martin Brodeur, Giguere too was trying to renegotiate. Giguere got his money first, setting the bar for Turco, who followed shortly thereafter.

The Ducks beat Turco and the that spring, but since then, Dallas has received the value. Turco is 25 games over .500 (57-32-15), his GAA is just over 2.00, and he has a dozen shutouts. Giguere meanwhile is 10 games under .500 (28-38-12), with half as many wins, and 1/4 the shutouts (he has 3), and a GAA about half-a-goal-a-game higher.

Guys like Giguere are important comparisons because Patrick Roy is gone, Ed Belfour is near the end, Martin Brodeur is aging, and Dominik Hasek is unpredictable and may or may not be in the league next season. The next wave then is important because from that group (guys like Giguere, Tomas Vokoun, Manny Fernandez, Roberto Luongo, Rick Dipietro) that a superstar (or two) will emerge, and that conditions will be conducive for one or more of them to win a Stanley Cup (or 2 or 3).

I've known Marty since just after he was drafted in 1994. I remember training camp in 1999 when he so wanted to stay with "the big club" but went to Kalmazoo instead. I remember he kept his mouth shut and backed up Belfour but was boiling under the surface -- anxious to get his turn. It came -- he nailed it. Well -- almost all of it.

He's an elite talent and his regular season numbers more than bear witness. He is the son every parent dreams about -- the friend everyone craves -- the employee and teammate organizations rarely get. He's won at every level he's ever competed, and has the trophy case to prove it -- and he'll win games and set pretty much every franchise goaltending record when this contract expires.

But is he one of those guys? Is he the next one?

Well my boy -- there's nothing stopping you.

 

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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 58 36 18 4 160 134 76
2 DAL 55 35 15 5 178 147 75
3 STL 56 30 17 9 133 130 69
4 LAK 53 32 18 3 146 124 67
5 SJS 53 28 20 5 154 143 61
6 ANA 53 26 19 8 120 125 60
7 COL 57 28 25 4 153 158 60
8 NSH 54 25 21 8 139 144 58
9 MIN 54 23 21 10 133 134 56
10 VAN 54 22 20 12 125 144 56
11 ARI 53 24 23 6 139 163 54
12 CGY 53 25 25 3 143 156 53
13 WPG 54 24 27 3 139 157 51
14 EDM 56 22 29 5 138 168 49

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 55 28 34 16 62
T. Seguin 55 28 32 11 60
J. Klingberg 55 10 36 14 46
J. Spezza 52 18 22 5 40
P. Sharp 55 16 24 -2 40
A. Goligoski 55 4 20 16 24
C. Eakin 55 10 13 0 23
M. Janmark 55 10 10 14 20
J. Demers 48 7 12 16 19
V. Nichushkin 52 6 13 7 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 20 10 5 .908 2.52
K. Lehtonen 15 5 0 .912 2.79
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