The Blackhawks introduced their big free-agent catch on Tuesday afternoon, goalie Marty Turco. Everything was pretty much hunky dory for all parties involved. Tony Esposito even made an appearance at the press conference since he and Turco are from the same hometown of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
Esposito shared some curious thoughts with Tim Sassone:
“This is his prime, the next three, four or five years,” said Esposito, now a Hawks ambassador. “He’s at his peak now these next few years. You’ve got the experience and you’re able to handle the pressure better.”
Raise your hand if you think a 35 year-old goalie with over 500 games under his belt is just coming into his own. If you say so, Tony. If you say so.
Joel Quenneville also revealed he has Turco pegged to play between 55 and 60 games. Which is fine and all, but that’s probably what Quenneville had in store for Huet last year and we all know how that played out.
Apparently, it was also a big deal on which number Turco is going to wear since his 35 in Dallas is hanging in the rafters in Chicago. If you care, he’s wearing number 30, but I certainly didn’t see what the big deal was all about.
Otherwise in Blackhawk-land, there have been a couple of other developments:
- Fernando Pisani waited for the ink on his contract to dry before revealing he’s been suffering back spasms that have kept him out of recent off-season workouts. That should come as a surprise to no one as this will probably become an on-going theme for Pisani in the upcoming season.
- 2009 2nd round pick Brandon Pirri agreed to terms on his entry-level contract. Pirri’s cap hit will be $648,000 over the next three years. Since he’s on a two-way, he will stand to make significantly less while playing in Rockford. And according to his agent, those are the only two places he will play this year.
“He will either be playing in the NHL, or the American Hockey League next year,” Thun said. “He will not be playing in the Ontario Hockey League.”
Way back in January, I gave my amateur scouting report on Pirri. Sadly, I don’t think the things he needs to work on (his skating, his stickhandling, his weight) have improved enough to be an impact player in the AHL. In fact, Pirri will likely suffer some pretty significant growing pains in the advanced level.
At RPI, he had the luxury of having Jerry D’Amigo on his wing. In Rockford, if he doesn’t have Kyle Beach on his wing, then the IceHogs have no one who compares to D’Amigo. Then again, if he stayed at RPI, he would’ve been playing with even significantly lesser talent. So, it was kind of a no-brainer for Pirri to turn pro; I’m just not sure if playing with Saginaw would be a more logical step.
Pirri joins Nick Leddy as the second Hawk prospect to bypass his sophomore year of college for the pros. It’s fascinating really because Leddy and Pirri are both desperately in need of physical maturation and they’re going to be dropped in the middle of professional hockey. Meanwhile, Dylan Olsen, who is much closer to having the body of a professional hockey player than any other young Hawk prospect, is going back for his sophomore season.
I’m not sure what to make of it, really, but the Hawks are really opening themselves up to criticism should Leddy and Pirri fail.