Facing Off: Q&A with Marty Turco

In a hockey era dominated by names like Patrick Roy, Dominik Hasek and Martin Brodeur, Stars goaltender Marty Turco still refuses to be overlooked.

Marty Turco Turco

Turco already has left an indelible mark on the NCAA record books, and his next mission is a Stanley Cup. Dallas may be a football town for now, but with every Turco glove save and poke check, this NHL All-Star is changing the sports landscape in Big "D".

We checked in with the man behind the mask as Turco faced off with ESPN's David Amber.

Question from Amber: You play hockey in Dallas. As a kid, did you watch the television show "Dallas"?

Answer from Turco: Oh yeah. Every Friday, I would watch it. Then, I had to go to bed because it was on late. That J.R. was quite a character, but I was a bigger fan of Bobby Ewing.

Q: Dallas is known primarily as a football city, so what are the advantages and disadvantages to playing professional hockey in a football town?

A: The advantages are that, unlike a city like Toronto, you can fly under the radar more and it's easier to enjoy yourself publicly. People are generally nice here and we've been treated great. They don't razz you too much after a bad game. The bad thing is, I haven't played anywhere else, so it's hard to know what I'm missing. With the weather, it sometimes doesn't feel like a hockey town. But the good definitely outweighs the bad.

Q: Growing up, which goalies did you look up to? Were you a big fan of guys like Bernie Parent and Gerry Cheevers?

A: I'm not that old, no offense to Bernie. With "Hockey Night in Canada" being limited to Leafs games, I liked to watch Allan Bester and Mike Palmateer. Being a small guy, I especially liked watching Bester. He became a fan favorite with all those big glove saves. But as I got older, Kirk McLean was one of my favorites. McLean was the first goalie I ever had a poster of.

Q: What were those four years like for you at the University of Michigan?

A: They were awesome. I went in so inexperienced and naive. I was physically so small. I was 19 years old, 5-foot-10 and 156 pounds, walking into the Big Ten and one of the biggest hockey programs. Being in an environment where you are surrounded by good people and good intentions, where the goal is to go to school and win hockey games -- it's great. That program really helped define me as a young man and provided a great foundation for me as a goaltender. In the end, walking away with a lot of wins and two national championships got me ready, to say the least.

Q: When you were at Michigan, who was the bigger sports star, you or Tom Brady?

A: I'd have to say myself. Tom was relatively unknown. He didn't play much. He was way back on the depth chart. I was playing every night. Hockey was big. It was a harder ticket to get than football back then because we played in such a smaller venue. But he's got a few legs up on me since then.

Q: Especially since Tom Brady made People magazine's list of the 50 Most Beautiful People. How did they forget about you on that list?

A: [Laughs.] I'm not that pretty.

Q: Do you keep in touch with some of the other varsity athletes that were with you at Michigan?

A: To this day, I still hang out with the point guard from the basketball team, Travis Conlan. I golf with Travis, and Brian Griese [Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB]. The three of us always get together in the summer to reminisce for a few days when we're between seasons.

Q: You grew up in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, a city that has produced the likes of Phil and Tony Esposito and Ron Francis. What will it take for you to go down as the greatest hockey talent from your hometown?

A: Championships. That's going to be the criteria. Ronnie won a couple and you look at his numbers on the all-time list, they're great. The only reason I could carry more clout than Ronnie is because he is the quietest superstar to ever play sports; that's the only reason I could get a nod over him. He's the one you look at as the consummate professional, and a winner. His numbers and his character speak for themselves.

Q: Goalies are known as being different, how true is this?

A: It's true. It goes without saying that goalies need to be a little quirky to even do what we do and actually to enjoy it. If any one of these guys in the NHL say they don't like what they're doing, they're crazy, because I think that deep down they do. I think, behind those masks, we're all having the time of our lives, and that's what makes us different.

Q: The new rules call for smaller equipment, so do you find yourself with more cuts and bruises than before?

A: No. The protection is still the same. We were adamant about keeping it fair and safe for everybody, and they have accomplished that. I still wear the same upper-body piece I wore last year, and my pants are pretty much identical. So it hasn't made a big difference, except a few goals squeaking in here and there.

Q: You are the cover boy for the 2K6 NHL video game. Are you better in the game or in real life?

A: That's easy. I'm pretty good in the game. They made me quick. They copied my real style. But I have to say, I'm better in real life.

Q: Do you ever play the game and choose to be a different goalie on another team?

A: I traveled to both California and New York to promote the game, and whenever I play, I have to be myself. People always want to play against me, so I never get the chance to play another team. I guess it makes sense, I can't give myself a high five if I score on myself.

Q: How would you describe your temperament on the ice?

A: Feisty. I'm out here to win hockey games, that's all I care about. Anything I see, I want to stop. I'm very intense on the ice, but at the same time, I do have an inner calmness that keeps me focused and relaxed.

David Amber is an anchor for ESPN and a contributor to ESPN.com.