For Dallas Stars goaltender Marty Turco, the reality is he has to live in the now. He can’t change the past but has some control over the future.
For Turco, last year’s frustrating early playoff exit was a lesson to be learned from, not a burden to carry for the rest of his life.
“It’s about being positive and in the moment,” Turco said as the Stars prepared to face the Vancouver Canucks in Wednesday night’s opening game of the Western Conference quarter-final playoffs (10 p.m. ET).
“Honestly, it has nothing to do with anything prior. It’s out of mind. It’s been long gone for me. We have a good team. What has happened to other teams in our past has no bearing on what’s going on right now.”
The book on Turco is he’s strong in the regular season but a question mark come the playoffs.
Last season, the Stars were picked as a team capable to reach the Stanley Cup final. Instead they lost the opening round in five games to Colorado.
In three postseasons with Turco in goal, the Stars have won one of four series.
Maybe that’s why Turco wasn’t surprised when he was asked after practice Tuesday if he has something to prove this playoff.
“Every year you have something to prove,” said the 31-year-old from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. “I always have something to prove to myself.
“That goes with winning in the past and losing in the past. This year is a new chance to a winner. It’s fun.”
Turco may be in the spotlight more this year because both Vancouver and Dallas are low-scoring teams that rely on their goaltenders to keep them in games.
The Canucks also have Roberto Luongo, who has taken on near mythical portions in Vancouver.
The rangy goaltender, obtained from Florida in the Todd Bertuzzi deal, is one of the biggest reasons the Canucks made the playoffs. He set franchise records with 47 wins and by playing in 76 games.
He finished the year with a 2.29 goals-against average and .921 save percentage.
As good as he’s been, Luongo is making his first playoff appearance in seven seasons.
Turco, who was Luongo’s Team Canada teammate at the 2006 Winter Olympics, said he isn’t bothered by who plays goal at the other end of the ice.
“It has zero bearing on what I do and what I need to do out there as a goaltender,” he said.
Luongo shrugged when asked about facing Turco.
“He’s a great guy,” said Luongo. “That’s as far as the extent of our relationship.”
Turco was 38-20-5 this year with a 2.23 goals-against and .910 save percentage. His career playoff record is 8-14 with a 2.54 goals-against average.
Canuck captain Markus Naslund expects Turco will step up his game in the playoffs.
“Turco is a quality goalkeeper,” said Naslund. “He’s going to do everything he can to prove his critics wrong.”
Veteran centre Mike Modano said Turco will always be compared to Ed Belfour, who led Dallas to the 1999 Stanley Cup.
“There were a lot of high expectations,” said Modano. “He had some big shoes to fill and a lot of pressure.
“You grow into that situation. Goalies seem to be the scapegoat if things go wrong. Mentally he has the attitude. He comes to lay every day. That’s all you can ask from him.”
Turco sat in his dressing room stall after practice and patiently faced questions. He smiled when asked if it’s frustrating to have his ability questioned.
“It’s not bothersome at all,” he said. “I have made changes like you do every year.
“I feel good. Mentally I feel in a positive frame of mind. It’s been a great building year. I feel like the best is yet to come.”