Monday, 12 December 2011

Turco Joins AHL Austria

When Marty Turco announced that he was retiring from the NHL, it meant one of the better practical jokers was stepping out of the limelight for greener pastures. His announcement was also significant because one of the better goaltenders in the NHL was hanging up his pads and skates, and we wouldn't get to see him play again. However, it appears we were wrong as Marty Turco decided to join up with EC Red Bull Salzburg of Austria today as he signed a short-term contract to help shore up Salzburg's goaltending situation. Salzburg has a pretty important tournament coming up - they are hosting the seventh annual Red Bulls Salute tournament, and they are suffering from some player losses through injuries and call-ups to the Austrian national team. Along with Turco, Salzburg could be considered NHL Austria when you look at a few of the names on this team.

Turco was brought in when current starter Josh Tordjman, formerly of the San Antonio Rampage in North America, was felled by a foot injury and a bout of the flu. He is doubtful to recover in time for the tournament which starts on Friday. Enter Marty Turco, the 36 year-old former Star and Blackhawk, for a chance to help Salzburg win the Red Bulls Salute tournament.

Along with Turco, EC Red Bull Salzburg has a few other players who have played in Chicago. Ramzi Abid, Akim Aliu, and Scott Barney all suited up with the AHL's Chicago Wolves. Aliu is on loan from the Winnipeg Jets after starting the season with the ECHL's Colorado Eagles, and there's hope he can elevate his game in the European tournament. Former Toronto Marlie Jeremy Williams is also on Salzburg's roster. Along with Tordjman, Tyler Redenbach is also a former Rampage player, so there are a few players who certainly know one another on this Salzburg team.

The men behind the bench for Salzburg are well-known to North American hockey fans. Pierre Page, head coach of Salzburg, had head coaching stints with the Minnesota North Stars, Quebec Nordiques, Calgary Flames, and Anaheim Mighty Ducks before moving across the ocean to ply his trade. He is joined behind the bench by former New York Ranger and Edmonton Oiler great Reijo Ruotsalainen, and by former Winnipeg Jet legend and Atlanta/Calgary Flame Kent Nilsson. These three men have guided EC Red Bull Salzburg to a second-place standing with a record of 19-7-2. They trail EHC Liwest Black Wings Linz by a mere five points in the race to the top of the Austrian standings.

The schedule for the tournament that kicks off on Friday is as follows:

QF1: Frölunda Indians vs. Linköpings HC - 17:15 in Salzburg.
QF2: HC ČSOB Pojišťovna Pardubice vs. EC Red Bull Salzburg - 20:30 in Salzburg.
QF3: Jokerit vs. HC Mountfield České Budějovice - 17:15 in Vienna.
QF4: HC Plzeň 1929 vs. Luleå Hockey - 20:30 in Vienna.

Saturday, December 17
CR1: Loser QF1 vs. Loser QF2 - 17:15 in Salzburg.
SF1: Winner QF1 vs. Winner QF2 - 20:30 in Salzburg.
SF2: Winner QF3 vs. Winner QF4 - 17:15 in Vienna.
CR2: Loser QF3 vs. Loser QF4 - 20:30 in Vienna.

Sunday, December 18
7th-place game: Loser CR1 vs. Loser CR2 - 14:00 in Salzburg.
5th-place game: Winner CR1 vs. Winner CR2 - 17:15 in Salzburg.
3rd-place game: Loser of SF1 vs. Loser of SF2 - 17:15 in Vienna.
Championship: Winner of SF1 vs. Winner of SF2 - 20:30 in Vienna.

Good luck to EC Red Bull Salzburg and Marty Turco as they try to capture their second Red Bulls Salute Championship. The bigger ice will be a challenge, but Turco has never backed down from stopping a puck in his career!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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