Monday, November 01, 2010

Absurd Goalie Monday: Roman Turek

While this week's AGM is a recent retiree, it has been almost seven years since he last played in the NHL. Even so, he's been bumped many a time during his NHL tenure, which probably led him to this returning to his home country in the end. This week, we'll take a look at the career of Roman Turek.

For the bulk of the upbringing of Turek, he spent it in his home country of the Czech Republic, playing in the Czech Jr. league from 1987-88 until 1989-90 with Motor Ceske Budejovice Jr. team. He would also get his shots at two World Junior Championships for then Czechoslovakia, winning bronze in both the 1989 and 1990 World Juniors for Czech0slovakia. Thanks to his performances, he was selected in the 1990 Entry Draft by the Minnesota North Stars in the sixth round.

Instead of going over to North America, Turek would stay over in the Czech Republic with Motor Ceske Budejovice of the Czech League starting in 1990-91 and would play in 157 from 1990-91 until the 1994-95 season. He would have a 3.23 GAA, but sadly-- I cannot find any win-loss record for him. Turek would also participate in two World Championships and an Olympics for the Czechs, being named to the World Championship All-Star team in 1995.

Turek would move over to the German Elite League in the 1995-96 season with the Nuremberg Ice Tigers, playing 48 games with a 3.32 GAA. Turek would have a breakout performance in the 1996 World Championships, going 7-0-1 while the Czech Republic would take home gold and Turek would be named best goaltender of the tournament and a second straight All-Star team in the World Championships. Turek would play in the 1996 World Cup, but would go 0-3-0 as the Czech didn't get out of qualifying round.

Turek would make a jump to North America to playing for the Michigan K-Wings of the IHL for the 1996-97 season, but would be hampered with injuries, that would only have him see 29 games of action. He would finish with a 8-13-4 record in Michigan and would get six games of action with the Dallas Stars in a call-up, going 3-1-0 in those appearances. Turek would be the back-up to Ed Belfour in the 1997-98 season in Dallas, getting in 23 games of action with an 11-10-1 record, as well as a 1-1-0 record in Michigan while recovering from another injury. It was a crowning season for Turek in the 1998-99 season, where Turek would shine in his 26 appearances this season, going 16-3-3 and being a part of a William Jennings Trophy tandem with Belfour for lowest combined goals-against. Also Turek was long for the ride, as the Dallas Stars won the Stanley Cup that spring.

With his stock high and another young goalie up through the ranks, Turek was traded from Dallas to the St. Louis Blues for a 2nd round draft pick, only one day after the Stars won the Cup. In an effort to prove his old team wrong, Turek lit up the league with the Blues, going 42-15-9 in 67 games with seven shutouts and a 1.95 GAA; allowing him to win the Jennings Trophy again; but he would flame out in the playoffs, getting upset by the 8th seeded San Jose Sharks in the first round. Turek's time in 2000-01 season could be shortened by the emergence of Brent Johnson, as he would play 54 games, going 24-18-10 in the regular season, but Turek went 9-5 in the playoffs, help getting the Blues to the Conference Finals.

It wasn't enough for the Blues, who would actually ship Turek with a 4th round pick to the Calgary Flames for Fred Brathwaite, Daniel Tkaczuk, Sergei Varlamov, and a 9th round pick. Turek took over on a somewhat dismal Flames team as the start in the 2001-02 season and played 69 games with a 30-28-11 record, coupled with five shutouts. Turek would have a decent 2002-03 season, with a 27-29-9 record in 65 games. However, the 2003-04 season would be good for the Flames, but bad for Turek-- as he would be sidelined for 39 games with an injured MCL; which allowed the Flames to acquire Miikka Kiprusoff, making Turek the back-up when he finally did come back. Turek would only play 18 games with a 6-11-0 record and was on the bench for the Flames Stanley Cup run, as they would lose in the Finals.

During the lockout, Turek said that he would take a pay-cut to stay with the Flames, but when he returned home to play for HC Ceske Budejovice again for the 2004-05, which is where he would stay until his retirement following the 2009-10 season. Turek would play 205 games in those seasons, with a 2.34 GAA in those games and 20 shutouts.

It seemed just as the getting was good, Turek would have a bump in the road when it came to getting stellar success. While he has a Stanley Cup rings, International success, and some individual trophies, Turek will probably never been seen as a solid goaltender on the NHL scale. It seems that he'll always get lost in the generation of goaltenders better than him-- which could be construed as a shame to some, not so much to others.

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