Turco keeps racking up wins

From the Associated Press

Marty Turco was never going to be a phenom like Dallas Stars teammate Mike Modano.

"I was a late bloomer to say the least," the goaltender said.

That is fine for the Stars, who have enjoyed having Turco in the nets for seven seasons -- the last four producing 30 wins in each. Now at 35, he is closing in another.

Not bad for a guy chosen in the fifth round -- 124th overall -- of the 1994 draft, who went the four-year college route at Michigan instead of growing up in juniors.

"That's an easy one. I never got drafted to the OHL," Turco said. "I'm an Ontario kid, wasn't good enough. Staying in college four years wasn't really an option, because it was my only option when I got there. I'm glad it all went down like that, actually.

"I've seen the broad spectrum of everybody from Mike Modano being 18 and going No. 1 overall coming into the league and playing for a long time. And for me, you know, I couldn't have done that. I couldn't even play when I was 21, 22. I needed the experience of the comforting surroundings of college, the background of education. Just to have that nothing-for-granted type attitude which I still carry with me."

That has been more than enough for Turco to set the Stars' record for most wins in franchise history. With seven more victories he will hit the 30-win mark again.

Only New Jersey's Martin Brodeur, who has won at least 30 in 11 straight seasons, is currently on a better run.

"To be honest, I haven't really thought about it," Turco said. "I've read footnotes and stuff about it. If anything, it's just more of a feather in the cap with the consistency and belief in winning and this organization and one that I push on myself. But more than anything, it's just an expectation that I have."

To say Brian Burke's visit to Long Island this week had the Anaheim Ducks general manager miffed would be an understatement.

The Ducks hadn't played the New York Islanders on the road since Nov. 1, 2003, so on this trip in Burke requested that Pat LaFontaine be issued a credential to sit with him in the press box.

The request was denied by the Islanders, the team LaFontaine scored 287 goals for -- the fifth-most in club history. The Ducks asked the Islanders to reconsider the decision and were met with the same answer of no.

"I'm bewildered by it, but you'd have to ask the Islanders about it," Burke said.

LaFontaine, a Hockey Hall of Famer, wasn't barred from the building but wasn't welcome in the press box.

"We have an alumni suite for all former players for every game that Patty has been to this year several times including on Al Arbour night when he was part of the ceremony," team spokesman Chris Botta said. "On Tuesday, we also provided a suite to Brian Burke and the Ducks management, so I don't understand why this is an issue."

Burke sat with LaFontaine in the suite along with the owner of the Ducks.

Although LaFontaine has been to some Islanders games this season, there are reasons why the relationship between him and the team could be frosty. He left the Islanders on two occasions, and neither exit was smooth.

His playing days on Long Island ended early in the 1991-92 season after he rejected a long-term contract offer and then refused to report to the team.

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