|Sturm in LA, January 2011 (photo: C. Ikiri)|
When you’ve played over 900 games in the NHL, a 17-game stint with a team isn’t exactly something that’s going to stick out in your mind. Still, returning to LA tonight with the Florida Panthers to face his former team – and we use that term rather loosely here – stirs up a few emotions for Marco Sturm.
“It was definitely really short,” he said, when asked if he ever even felt like a King. “It feels a little different (coming back here).”
That didn’t stop him from having a huge smile when he greeted a few of the Kings training staff with big bear hugs after practice on Wednesday. “I love seeing some of the guys,” shared Sturm. “Especially the trainers, they’ve been so good to me. That was definitely something I was looking forward to.”
During his two month stay in LA, he spent plenty of time with them, as he was attempting to return to the ice after missing nearly a year of action following major knee surgery.
“The high was that I came back again from an injury. It probably wasn’t the way I wanted, but I was playing the game again. I think that was probably the only positive I had,” said Sturm when he reflected back on what’s been a tough year. “I actually felt better and better towards the end of the season in Washington. There were a lot of lows, especially here (in LA) and leaving here – probably one of my lowest points and it was tough.”
Kings GM Dean Lombardi originally drafted Sturm when he was San Jose. The German-born forward was later traded to Boston in a deal for Joe Thornton. Last season, the Kings were able to acquire him from the Bruins for essentially a conditional draft pick, when the B’s ran into a cap space issue. After scoring four goals in 17 games and spending time on the injured reserve list, Sturm was released by LA in late March.
He spent the remainder of the season with the Capitals and then signed a free agent contract with Vancouver in July – only to be traded by the Canucks six games into the season.
“That’s the past. I’m trying to move on,” Sturm said. “I’m a Panther now and I’m very happy about it.”
So far, he has one goal in 17 games since being traded to the Panthers.
On a related note, forward Mikael Samuelsson, who arrived in Florida with Sturm from Vancouver, is expected to make his debut for the Panthers tonight versus the Kings.
Other than on the Florida bench, most in the building probably won’t be looking forward to seeing Samuelsson again. In the 2010 playoffs he scored seven goals against LA in their six-game series loss to Vancouver.
Several related articles can be found down below.
Interview with Nick Bjugstad – Florida Panthers first round draft pick
Interview with Panthers defenseman Mike Weaver – includes memories of Dustin Brown