‘I absolutely love it here’
Sturm dealing with situation
Bruin understands nature of business
WILMINGTON — Marco Sturm was not on the ice at yesterday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena, but he’s still a Bruin.
The 32-year-old left wing, so near to a trade to the Kings Thursday that he went around the locker room saying goodbyes, instead went through an off-ice workout. The morning after his move to Los Angeles for a conditional draft pick was called a “done deal’’ by some outlets, beginning with Canada’s TSN, Sturm was taking a scheduled day off from skating.
Sturm said his rehab process has not changed, and that he still expects to be ready to return to game action in mid-December. He just doesn’t know where.
“I thought it would be done, but it didn’t happen,’’ he said. “I absolutely love it here. It’s been a great five years. It’s hard, but I understand the business. It’s all up to Peter [Chiarelli, the general manager]. There’s nothing to talk about. Nothing has changed [for me].’’
Coach Claude Julien said Sturm’s day off was for medical reasons, not due to an impending trade.
“Marco is part of our hockey team right now,’’ Julien said. “I’m going to treat him the same way. He’s a Boston Bruin.’’
Sturm said Chiarelli asked him a few days ago to waive the no-trade clause in his contract, and that after thinking it over for a night, he agreed. Sturm said he and Chiarelli discussed Thursday the teams that had interest in him, and Sturm expected to make a move. When none came, it left him in an awkward limbo.
“It was a big shock for all of us, my family, too,’’ Sturm said. “I didn’t really see that coming. I know there’s a lot of rumors out there, but still, it was hard to take. I absolutely love it here. I’ve had a great five years here, so it’s hard.
“But I also understand the business and sometimes things are not going the way you want it. I’ve just got to look [out] for me now, look for my future.’’
Sturm is in the final season of a four-year, $14 million contract. If he’s with the Bruins when he is ready to come off long-term injured reserve, the team will have to clear salary to fit his $3.5 million under the cap.
“We all feel for Marco, we all admire him,’’ said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. “Great guy, great person, great player. He didn’t do anything wrong, it just happened that he had bad luck as far as injuries and he’s been on the sideline. The timing of everything happening just worked out that we were forced to do some moves. It’s part of any business, not just hockey, especially now when you have limits, you’re going to be forced to do things you don’t want to.’’
The locker room was upbeat on the heels of the 8-1 rout of Tampa Bay Thursday, and Sturm, too, wore a broad smile, despite his situation. A player whom Chara described as an “awesome’’ teammate was still playing the team game.
“Nothing really has changed for me, that’s why I’m still coming here and trying to be a good teammate and work hard just to try to get better and get healthy,’’ Sturm said. “I was hoping [Marc Savard] and I come back, we can do a lot of things this year, but if not, then I better go another way.’’
Meanwhile, things are back to normal for Savard. First one at the rink yesterday — “[Nathan Horton] and I were here at 9:30, I think, for an 11 o’clock practice,’’ said Savard — the 33-year-old center, who played his first game in nearly seven months on Thursday, and was happy to be working on his stick with a blow torch and sandpaper.
“It feels good, it feels like normal days again,’’ said Savard, who suffered through a long bout of postconcussion syndrome.
Even the morning after was not too bad.
“I definitely feel like I’m getting a little older; I thought I was going to roll out of bed smoothly, it might have been more of a crawl,’’ said Savard, who centered rookie Tyler Seguin and veteran Michael Ryder on Thursday. “No, I feel great. Today I felt good again out on the ice, so that’s a good sign. I can’t wait for tomorrow night, especially going back to Toronto, where I live close by.’’
Savard said it’s up to him now to speak up if he feels any symptoms.
“My first shift, I tried to hit a guy and get myself involved,’’ he said, “and the rest of the game I never really thought about it, I just felt normal. I’m so grateful obviously, the crowd was phenomenal. I felt chills. Even watching on TV later, I caught a glimpse of it on the news, I was still getting more chills.’’