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Sturm Trade a Done Deal

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
ST. LOUIS -- The Kings on Tuesday officially completed their trade for Boston Bruins forward Marco Sturm, and Sturm is expected to join the team here Tuesday night.

The Kings had, conditionally, acquired Sturm in exchange for ``future considerations,'' but required that Sturm complete an extensive physical evaluation in Los Angeles this week. Sturm has had surgery on both of his knees during his NHL career.

``It feels great,'' Sturm told ``It was a long two weeks for me, too, Everything was up in the air and it was back and forth a little bit, especially the last two days here. A lot of testing had to get done, but I'm really, really excited to be a L.A. King now, and I'm just going to do my best to help the team and maybe take it to the next level.''

Sturm was scheduled to fly to St. Louis on Tuesday afternoon, and likely will be on the ice when the team practices Wednesday, although it's not yet known when Sturm might play.

``Hopefully I will start playing next week,'' Sturm said. ``I think that's the goal right now.''

Sturm has not been in a game since May 1, when he injured his knee in the playoffs, although he had been skating with the Bruins in practices since late October.

Talk in Boston last week was that Sturm was approximately 7-10 day away from being game ready, but that's now the Kings' decision. General manager Dean Lombardi said it was conceivable, but not certain, that Sturm could return sometime around Dec. 25.

``I know it's going to be hard, but I'm just going to try to find my game back as soon as possible,'' Sturm said. ``That comes with playing games and a lot of practice, but I feel really confident about it. I think it's a very fun team to watch, and I think it's a good fit for me, too, so I'm really excited about it and hopefully we all can click pretty soon.''

Sturm, 32, is a 12-year NHL veteran and a seven-time 20-goal scorer who is in the final year of his contract. Lombardi drafted Sturm in the first round in
1996 when Lombardi was the San Jose Sharks' general manager. Sturm waived his no-trade clause in order to join the Kings.


A day after the Kings' victory over Detroit, the play of Jonathan Quick is still the buzz, and with good reason, given Quick's highly impressive 51-save shutout.

Not to be dismissed, though, is the impact Willie Mitchell had on the victory.

Mitchell, in his first game back after missing 14 games with a broken wrist, played a game-high -- and personal season-high -- 27 minutes, 10 seconds, including almost four minutes on a Kings penalty-kill unit that did not allow a goal to the Red Wings.

A coach might often want to ease a previously-injured player back into the lineup, but Terry Murray said he had confidence in Mitchell's conditioning and ability. There's that, plus the fact that Murray didn't have much of a choice in the third period.

In-game injuries forced Matt Greene and Rob Scuderi out of the lineup, leaving the Kings with four defensemen for the final 16-plus minutes. The Kings'
depleted defense held up OK, and did enough to help Quick earn the 10th shutout of his career.

``Mitchell was huge for us last night, in his first game back after missing a dozen or so games with the injury,'' Murray said. ``He came back and had an incredible influence on our team, I thought. HIs experience -- he's a veteran guy -- helped calmed things down. He makes a lot of the right plays. His penalty killing, in that critical time, was tremendous.

``I really felt it had an influence on Jack and Doughty, in their games last night. Martinez, he played well, but I think that Mitchell's game had an impact on those guys and their attitude. `Hey, relax, calm down, settle things out and make the right play.'''

Mitchell started the game in a pairing with Jack Johnson, but the injuries forced Murray to do some significant shuffling late in the game.


Greene and Scuderi are both expected to return to practice on Wednesday and play against St. Louis on Thursday. A cut to Scuderi's mouth area required 20 stitches, and Murray said Greene is OK after sitting out two periods for precautionary reasons.

``It was out of precaution only,'' Murray said of Greene's absence. ``He's fine, he's good. I got an update here today, and everything is good.''

The Kings did not practice Tuesday, electing for a team workout at the hotel.


After his career-best 51-save effort against Detroit, Quick will be back in goal against the Blues on Tuesday.

``It's pretty tough to not go back to him after that performance last night,''
Murray said.

A day later, Quick's play was still a significant talking point, and rightfully so. Quick was outstanding all game, and at his best in the second period, when the Red Wings had 26 shots on goal and the Kings had to kill back-to-back penalties in the middle of the period.

``He was totally focused on the game,'' Murray said. ``He just was so composed and read the play. They play east-west hockey, and you've got to be right on top of things to make it happen on some of those saves. He was outstanding. The play, the save when Jack Johnson had the big hit on Helm, and then Helm came in and found his own rebound on that play, that was a spectacular save. It's a position that you have to have a `A' game from, going into that build.
Especially in the second period. They are unbelievable at recognizing the line-change situation, to take advantage of it with their experience in that building. How they can just continue to get pressure on top of you in that situation…

``You go back over the years, and their second periods are phenomenal for them.
That's where they break games open. Just 5-on-5, and then on top of that we had the two, back-to-back penalty kills. They put a lot of pressure. They recover the pucks and the play goes on for almost the full two minutes, non-stop, and so you've got to be really sharp on your changes. They can feed off of it and generate a lot, coming back at you. So Quick was obviously the man for the job last night.''
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