SUN Hockey Pool

NHL notes: Rask out, Turco in

With backup goaltender Tuukka Rask sidelined for at least a month, the Bruins have signed Marty...

With backup goaltender Tuukka Rask sidelined for at least a month, the Bruins have signed Marty Turco to take his place. (BRIAN SNYDER/Reuters file photo)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:07 PM ET

The Boston Bruins signed veteran goalie Marty Turco Monday after learning that injured backup Tuukka Rask will miss at least a month.

Turco, who has played 538 regular-season games with Dallas and Chicago, needs to clear waivers before he joins the Bruins. Even if he clears, he won't be eligible to play for Boston in the playoffs.

Rask was hurt during the second period of Saturday's 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders and forced to leave the game. Monday the team announced he will be out 4-6 weeks with a lower abdomen/groin strain.

Turco, a free agent, hasn't played much this season. He's been limited to four games with EC Red Bull Salzburg of the top Austrian league.

PENS DREAMING OF CROSBY

The Pittsburgh Penguins are hoping for a spring visit from Santa.

AKA, the return of Sidney Crosby.

"We're hoping it's going to be like Christmas morning one day," Pens defenceman Ben Lovejoy told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "We're going to walk in and go, 'Oh, cool. We get the best player in the world back.'"

Crosby appears to be closer to playing -- he's skating hard but hasn't been cleared for contact --but there's still no set date for his return. Crosby hasn't talked to reporters since mid-February but reports indicate he isn't completely headache-free.

Still, his teammates can't help but dream of the day Crosby returns to action.

"You don't want to get too excited, because you never really know," defenceman Paul Martin said. "But in the back of our minds, we're thinking about it.

"We hope it happens."

BACKSTROM GOES HOME

Injured Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom has returned to Sweden to spend time with his family and get away from hockey, the team confirmed on NHL.com.

Backstrom has been sidelined with a concussion since Jan. 3, when he took an elbow to the head from then-Calgary Flames forward Rene Bourque. He's skated just once since then and isn't expected to be cleared to play any time soon.

The Caps said Backstrom did not go to Sweden to see medical specialists. He left last week and is expected back in Washington Sunday.

But Capitals general manager George McPhee still has no idea when Backstrom will be able to play.

"I don't have an answer for you on that," McPhee said last month. "I wish I did. It's a lot easier to plan if you have an answer. But we don't have an answer."

Caps goalie Tomas Vokoun was back at practice Monday after sitting out last weekend's games. With Vokoun healthy again, Braden Holtby was sent to Hershey of the AHL.

TOEWS GETTING CLOSE

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews will miss his eighth straight game due to a concussion but is getting closer to playing again, according to coach Joel Quenneville.

Toews won't play Tuesday in St. Louis but Quenneville is optimistic he won't be out much longer.

-He had a good day off the ice today," Quenneville told the Chicago Sun-Times. "He worked out and was fine. We're hopeful that (he will play) soon.

"I can't give you an ideal date, but today is encouraging."

The Blackhawks have finally admitted Toews is concussed, although the team website still lists him as having an upper-body injury.

BRIEFLY

The Detroit Red Wings called up forward Chris Conner, defenceman Doug Janik and goalie Jordan Pearce from Grand Rapids of the AHL for their game in Philadelphia Tuesday against the Flyers. Wings first-string goalie Jimmy Howard suffered a lower-body injury Sunday and defenceman Jakub Kindl left with an upper-body injury ... Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Victor Hedman, who's missed four games with an upper-body injury, could play Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators. Sounds like Hedman will be a game-time decision ... Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller was chosen by the NHL as its first star of the week after getting three wins on the road, including two shutouts. Detroit defenceman Niklas Kronwall, with two goals and five assists in three games, was the second star while Chicago Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery was third star after earning three wins.


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