March 7, 2012

Turco clears waivers, joins Bruins for practice

By Jesse Connolly

WILMINGTON – As the minutes leading up to noon counted down, Claude Julien and the Bruins might not have been staring up at the clock with bated breath waiting for the little hand to point north at 12, but there’s no doubt that the Black and Gold got a little antsy on Wednesday morning. 

Marty Turco's last NHL appearance came on March 17, 2011, for the Blackhawks. (Getty)

After signing Marty Turco to be the backup for the remainder of the regular season, it was no lock that the veteran netminder would definitely be a Bruin, as a number of other NHL clubs could’ve claimed him off waivers.

Thankfully for Boston, who will be without Tuukka Rask for a month-plus, no other club foiled their plan.

“I think we wanted him here and I think he wanted to be here, so you hope that it was going to work out,” coach Claude Julien said. “When you run into that kind of injury that Tuukka went through after the trade deadline, and then your No. 1 goaltender in Providence is injured at this moment, to be able to get a guy like him is certainly a bonus. I think we were all happy once noon came around and he was still with us.”

Turco partook in his first practice with the B’s, most of which was focused on getting his game back up to NHL speed after spending some time playing in Austria this season.

“I thought his enthusiasm was there. You could see he was working hard at feeling that puck and getting his timing and everything else,” Julien said. “That’s exactly what you’d expect from a goaltender who is practicing for the first time in a little while. The shots he’s taking here are a little bit different than the league he played in. We know how good of a goaltender he’s been, so it’s not an issue.”

Julien said he’s unsure of when Turco will debut for the club, as that’s contingent upon him simply being ready for duty. That, in turn, means the workload Tim Thomas will take on down the stretch is still to be determined.

“We’ll have to play it by ear and see how Marty is,” the Bruins bench boss said. “There’s other ways to give goaltenders rest. If Timmy has to miss a practice here or there, whatever the case, not going on the ice for a day is the same as not playing a game. You find ways. I think we’ll kind of balance all of that when the time comes and make the right decisions.”

Asked whether or not Turco has had success against his squads in years past, Julien noted that’s essentially a moot point now.

“I haven’t really looked at that,” he said, “but what I hope is that he has success with us.”

Paille, Ference making progress

Injured forward Dan Paille and banged-up blueliner Andrew Ference both saw some ice time before the team’s full practice.

“Well they skated for the first time today, on their own,” said Julien. “They’re still day-to-day. I would say doubtful for tomorrow unless something miraculous happens in the next 24 hours. We don’t expect them being out too long.”

Benoit Pouliot, meanwhile, saw less than five minutes of ice time in Tuesday’s 5-4 win over the Leafs due to a lower-body injury. He did not skate on Wednesday.

“He’s day-to-day,” Julien said. “We kept him off the ice today for more of the precaution part of it. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow and make a decision based on whether he’s feeling better and whether he can go or not