Ex-Shark Sturm a fish out of water for now
Marco Sturm is the last Bruin standing from the Nov. 30, 2005, blockbuster deal that sent Joe Thornton to the West Coast.
Sturm, however, is hobbling more than standing, almost a month after having season-ending surgery Jan. 13 to fix a torn ACL and torn meniscus in his left knee.
"It's been OK," said Sturm, whose knee is sheathed in a protective brace for two more weeks. "The surgery went really well. It looks good. Just have to go step by step."
Sturm, sent east along with Brad Stuart and Wayne Primeau by San Jose general manager Doug Wilson, was back at TD Banknorth Garden yesterday, glad-handing friends from his former organization.
While Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli packaged Stuart, Primeau, and a fourthround pick to Calgary for Andrew Ference and Chuck Kobasew on Feb. 10, 2007, the Bruins held onto Sturm because of his speed and goal-scoring abilities.
Sturm, who scored 27 goals in both 2006-07 and 2007-08, was projected by vice president Cam Neely to net 40 this season.
But the alternate captain missed 12 games because of head and neck woes, then blew out his left knee in his first match back, Dec. 18 - a night that started with such promise.
On his first shift, reunited with regular center Patrice Bergeron, Sturm did what he usually does when his game is on. The left wing drove to the net, set a screen on goalie Vesa Toskala, and tapped in a rebound for his seventh goal of the season.
But on a subsequent penalty kill, Sturm entered the corner against Toronto forward Nikolai Kulemin. Suddenly, his left skate hit a rut and Sturm went down. And that was it for 2008-09: 19 games, 7 goals, 6 assists.
Asked if he thought the injury was serious at the time, Sturm said, "Not at all. I just couldn't get up right away. After three minutes, I could walk again. I knew there was a little bit wrong. But I didn't expect that."
Sturm, under contract through 2010-11 at an annual cost of $3.5 million, confirmed that he will not be available even if the Bruins reach the Stanley Cup finals.
He has been undergoing treatment daily at Massachusetts General Hospital, and he has been able to ride the stationary bike. One of the keys for him is to retain mobility around the knee while the ligaments heal.
Sturm's only other significant injury came in 2003-04 when he missed 15 games because of a dislocated ankle.
"It was a big shock," Sturm said of his knee injury. "It's never good timing for this. But its been a good year. It's been fun. The team is doing really good. It's tough. It's tough to be out."
Through 52 games, the No. 2 right wing has 19 goals and 17 assists with a plus-24 rating.
Ryder should be back by the March 4 trade deadline, all but certain to be wearing a cage or visor. Given the Bruins' standing atop the East and their improving health, they aren't likely to acquire outside up-front help to make up for Ryder's production.
"If these guys detect a weakness, the price will go up," Chiarelli said of his fellow GMs.
"In most cases, youve had discussions over a period of time where you can't just backtrack if youre that deep into discussions. I'm not that deep into discussions."