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A Road Trip Home

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
This upcoming road trip -- six games, 11 days -- will be a long one for the Kings, but it will also be filled with familiar faces and happy memories for Rob Scuderi.

The first stop is Pittsburgh, where Scuderi won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins two years ago. The trip ends with two games in New York, including one on Scuderi’s native Long Island, where he will has a lot of family and friends.

``I think he wanted to keep going, from Calgary,'' Kings coach Terry Murray joked. ``I don't think he wanted to come back here. He's the one guy that wanted to keep going. There's no doubt that he will be excited, going back to where he won the Stanley Cup, with former teammates and a lot of friends and family. He's a real pro.

``He will know how to handle that, emotionally, the right way. He's not going to try to do anything special or extra. He's just going to play his steady game. That's what we want and that's what we need from him.''

Rob Scuderi will return to Pittsburgh Thursday where he won a Stanley Cup in 2009.  (AP Photo)
Scuderi was drafted by the Penguins in the fifth round in 1998 and, after three more seasons as Boston College and two full seasons in the AHL, he broke in the NHL with the Penguins during the 2003-04 season.

A steady, stay-at-home defenseman, Scuderi became a lineup regular after the lockout and is best remembered in Pittsburgh for helping to preserve the Penguins’ victory over Detroit in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

With the Penguins nursing a one-goal lead in the final minute, Scuderi went to his knees in the crease and twice helped stop the puck from going into the net. The Penguins held on to win, then beat Detroit in Game 7 to win the Stanley Cup.

Scuderi got his Stanley Cup ring last season, when the Penguins visited STAPLES Center, but this will be his first game in Pittsburgh since that Game 6 victory.

``(Last year's game) was kind of different, because I had just changed teams at the time. It's been a while, but it should still be fun to go back to Pittsburgh,’’ Scuderi said. ``It's been two years now, so a lot has changed. The team is a lot different now. I still know probably half of the team. I spent five years there, so I'm sure a lot of memories will come back once we get there.

``I think Brooks Orpik and Kris Letang are the only two (defensemen) that were on the Stanley Cup team. That's fine. That's just the nature of the business. That's what happens. Like I said, I still have plenty of good friends there, a lot of people I met, so it should be interesting going back.''

Marco Sturm has missed seven consecutive games because of knee tendinitis, but will accompany the Kings on the road trip and might be able to return to action soon.

Sturm made it through two full-team practices in El Segundo this week, but Murray did not commit to Sturm’s chances of playing Thursday against the Penguins.

``The first thing I have to take in consideration is, how is he doing after the two days of getting worked pretty hard?’’ Murray said. ``That will be a conversation that I have to have with him and our medical staff, and start to sort it out from that point and see when we can get him in, and just decide.’’

Sturm, who has four goals and four assists in 15 games with the Kings since being traded from the Boston Bruins in mid-December, said he should be able to return soon.

``It's not just the knee,’’ Sturm said. ``I have to get my strength back a little bit. I'm just trying to catch up here a little bit. It's been a good week, and hopefully I will be back this week. We'll see. It will go day by day. … I will definitely go on the trip and I will, I think definitely, play on the trip too. It's just a matter of time.’’

When Sturm returns from injured reserve, the Kings will need to make a corresponding roster move. Andrei Loktionov and Alec Martinez are the only two skaters who are no subject to waivers, but both rookies have been lineup regulars of late.

Jonathan Quick will get the start in goal Thursday against Pittsburgh. Then, with the Kings facing back-to-back games on Saturday (at Washington) and Sunday (at Pittsburgh), backup Jonathan Bernier will get the call for one of those games.

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