Even when injured, Marco Sturm’s impact felt by Bruins
|10.26.10 at 1:36 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Marco Sturm hasn’t had the best of luck when it comes to health. Major injuries to each of his knees have cost him playing time over the last two seasons, the most recent of which has landed him on long-term injured reserve to open the 2010-11 campaign as he works his way back from a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee.
At face value, the Bruins received some positive news on Tuesday when Sturm did some light skating on his own prior to the team’s practice. Sturm took shots on an empty net by himself, saying that though he felt weak on the ice, he was encouraged by the session. Though Claude Julien said there is no timetable for Sturm’s return and the winger himself admitted it would be “tough” to return by late November, as initially expected, his captain noted that Sturm doesn’t need to be in the lineup for the B’s to feel his positive impact.
An upbeat Sturm could be seen around the Bruins throughout preseason and on the team’s season-opening trip to Europe, and despite not being able to take part in workouts or on-ice sessions with the team, he’s kept a grin on his face and the attitude of a guy who’s getting 20 minutes a night.
“[He’s been] absolutely tremendous and supportive,” Zdeno Chara said of Sturm. “You don’t even notice that a guy like that is being affected by injuries. He’s always in a good mood, always helpful to young players, to all of us. It’s just a huge boost for us to see a guy like that always having positive attitude and bringing that energy in the room.”
It’s only natural that a player spending an extended period of time off of the ice and out of the lineup could get the sense of not being quite involved with the team as he normally is. Given the team’s dynamic, however, Sturm said one would be hard-pressed to find that with this Bruins’ club.
“I think especially on this team, it’s never been an issue,” Sturm said. “For the last few years, the guys are always really happy when injured guys are around. Like today, guys were really happy because I was on the ice for the first time. We can tell. It’s a tight group and we’re one team and we just want to be the best.”
It’s no surprise that Chara agrees with Sturm’s assessment, whiling also noting that involvement that Sturm and the other players have made a point to maintain hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“We don’t have to do much,” Chara said. “Those guys are always a big part of our team, no matter what’s going on with them as far as injuries. They’re always included, they’re always a part of the programs that we all have to go through on a daily basis. To have a guy like [Sturm] coming back and see him skating, it’s awesome. It’s been a long road for him, and eventually it’s getting shorter and shorter for him. It’s nice.”
Sturm led the Bruins in goals last year, scoring 22 in 76 games last season. He is set to become a free agent at season’s end. Until then, and especially once he returns to the lineup, the Bruins can expect more positive things, both in production and in morale.