Turco's come a long way

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:25 AM ET

If and when Ed Belfour reaches his next milestone, Marty Turco will bust out his blue-and-white pom-poms in support.

Just not tonight.

"He's going to pass Terry Sawchuk sooner or later, it just doesn't have to be against us on Hockey Night in Canada," Turco, Belfour's one-time understudy in Dallas, said during a phone interview as he prepared for his meeting against Belfour's Maple Leafs.

It stands to be an emotional night for the Dallas Stars goaltender, a native of Sault Ste. Marie.

When he looks down to the other end of the ice, Turco will see Belfour, his former Dallas teammate, attempt to pass the late great Sawchuk for sole possession of second place on the career goalie's wins list with 448.

And when he glances over at the Maple Leafs bench, he'll spot Team Canada coach Pat Quinn, the man Turco would love to play for in two months at the winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

No lack of incentive here.

"What Eddie has been able to accomplish is admirable," Turco said. "Look at his age and the shape he keeps himself in. To have the ability to keep coming out night after night and be as competitive as he is, well, that's quite a feat.

"People do not realize the effort he puts in to prepare himself every day to play at a high level. I had the opportunity to witness that first-hand."

During his two seasons as Belfour's backup in Dallas, Turco made his only previous appearance to date at the Air Canada Centre.

"The score was something like 3-3 or 4-4 and I tried to shoot the puck up the boards to my right winger who, unfortunately, wasn't there," Turco recalled."Next thing you know (Alex) Mogilny deflects it in and I'm being pulled in favour of Eddie."

When Belfour signed with the Leafs in the summer of 2002, Turco took over the starters' role in Dallas and has never looked back. He is 15-6-1 with a 2.62 goals-against average this season, numbers he hopes will catch the collective eye of the Team Canada brass.

"The people running the Canadian team know how bad I want to be at the Olympics," he said."If I have to sit in the stands and be the No. 3 guy, that's fine. I just want to wear that crest.

"Whenever my country calls, I'll do whatever they want."


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