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No Ordinary Joe

Sunday, 10.19.2003 / 11:00 PM CT / News
Dallas Stars
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No Ordinary Joe

October 20, 2003

By J. Douglas Foster

Stars goaltender Marty Turco remembers the moment.

It was a rare occasion in Turco's career, one he hasn't seen often. But after allowing four goals during his rookie season against the New Jersey Devils at Reunion Arena, Turco was pulled from the game by coach Ken Hitchcock.

The next day, after practice, a young Turco faced more heat than he had the night before as every member of the local media surrounded his stall wanting to know exactly what happened. Entering the locker room late after staying on the ice for extra work, then Stars center Joe Nieuwendyk had their answer.

Nieuwendyk walked right to the edge of the media scrum, leaned in around the cameras and interrupted Turco's grilling.

"What happened last night was no fault of Marty's," he said.

"That's just the kind of guy he is," Turco said of his former teammate. "He's more of a friend than a teammate. He probably meant more to me off the ice than anyone I've played with yet. He's just that kind of human being, and I don't think anyone who knows him would doubt that."

That's just the kind of teammate Joe Nieuwendyk was to the other members of the Dallas Stars. That's why they'll always remember the things he did for them personally and for the organization, and that's why Stars fans will always consider him a part of their team, even if he's no longer wearing the Stars logo on his chest.

Wednesday will be Nieuwendyk's first trip back to Dallas in a visiting sweater since being traded to New Jersey in March of 2002, now as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs along with former Stars goaltender Ed Belfour.

Belfour made his return, last season, in a 2-1 loss to Turco and the Stars. This trip is Nieuwendyk's "welcome home," and for obvious reasons.

This guy was, to this team, the consummate teammate.

"He would do anything for you," Stars captain Mike Modano said of Nieuwendyk. "He's the kind of friend you could really rely on, and he's one that will always be a good friend to a lot of us."

During the summer months, Stars fans got excited about the possibility of Nieuwendyk returning to Dallas permanently as rumors flew about the possibility of him re-signing with his former team.

His former teammates certainly would not have minded.

"He's the one who kind of helped me grow up in this league," Stars left wing Brenden Morrow said. "I came in with that wide-eyed look every young kid has, and he led the way for me. He was kind of like a father figure for a lot of the younger guys."

Stars head coach Dave Tippett knows how his current players feel about Nieuwendyk. He had a similar experience with several players during his days in Hartford, bonding very closely with several core members of the team.

Kevin Dineen is one who stood out the most. But after the two were separated, Tippett said, he was just like any other opponent while on the ice, no matter how close the friendship was.

He expects the same between his team and Nieuwendyk.

"He was a great guy and a great teammate," Tippett said. "But you don't look to say hello on the ice or he would run you over.

"I'm sure a lot of people in Dallas will be friends with Joe for a long time. It's a similar situation we had in Hartford where six or eight guys remained friends for many years."

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*Stars right wing Jere Lehtinen's eligibility status was changed to week-to-week late Monday night, and Tippett said he would be reevaluated next Monday.

*Former Star and Maple Leaf Kirk Muller will be honored Wednesday in a ceremonial faceoff before the game. Muller announced his retirement this past summer.

*For Turco, facing the Maple Leafs -- no matter who is in the other net -- is always a thrill. After all, while growing up in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, nothing was more important than that Maple Leaf crest. "I grew up watching that team on TV, Saturday nights on Hockey Night in Canada," he said. "Seeing those uniforms on the ice is always a special feeling."




1 CHI 56 36 16 4 158 128 76
2 DAL 53 33 15 5 170 142 71
3 STL 55 30 17 8 132 129 68
4 LAK 51 31 17 3 135 117 65
5 SJS 51 27 20 4 147 138 58
6 NSH 53 25 20 8 136 139 58
7 COL 55 27 24 4 148 152 58
8 ANA 50 25 18 7 111 115 57
9 MIN 52 23 20 9 127 126 55
10 ARI 52 24 22 6 138 161 54
11 VAN 52 20 20 12 120 142 52
12 CGY 51 23 25 3 134 148 49
13 WPG 52 23 26 3 136 150 49
14 EDM 54 21 28 5 132 164 47


J. Benn 53 28 31 15 59
T. Seguin 53 28 28 10 56
J. Klingberg 53 8 35 14 43
J. Spezza 52 18 22 5 40
P. Sharp 53 16 24 -1 40
C. Eakin 53 10 13 1 23
A. Goligoski 53 3 20 17 23
M. Janmark 53 10 9 13 19
A. Roussel 51 8 10 5 18
V. Nichushkin 50 6 12 7 18
A. Niemi 20 10 5 .908 2.52
K. Lehtonen 13 5 0 .907 2.82 is the official Web site of DSE Hockey Club, L.P.  The Stars name and logos are registered trademarks of the NHL and the Stars. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2016 DSE Hockey Club, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

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