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Bruins glad to have Sturm back

by James Murphy

"I will do whatever they need me to do. I have experience killing penalties and on power plays; I'm just happy to be back on the ice and really back with the guys and around the game every day."
-- Marco Sturm

The sight of Marco Sturm flying around the TD Garden ice during training camp has been a welcome sight to the Boston Bruins.

Sturm, who is returning from reconstructive knee surgery, has been playing in the preseason and is expected to be in the lineup when the Bruins open their season at home against the Capitals on Oct. 1. With Phil Kessel, the team's leading goal scorer in 2008-09, out until at least mid-November and possibly not returning to Boston at all because of a contract stalemate, Sturm's potential offense is a welcome addition.

"Obviously we'd love to have him scoring goals the way he can and at the pace we know he's capable of," center Marc Savard said. "We might be missing someone out there and we all need to chip in and make up for that offense. But having 'Sturmy' in there will help a lot. He's got such a great shot, he's fast and he can do a lot of different things for us out there."

His goals aren't all Sturm's teammates have missed.

"I just can't wait to see his goal celebrations," Patrice Bergeron joked about the German winger's exuberance after every goal he scores and the enthusiasm he brings. "It's always fun to have him around. It's good to have him on the ice. This week, it was good to see him out there. I can't wait for him to be back with us on the ice this season. He looks great. He looks like the old 'Sturmy.' It's just fun to have him with us."

But to see those celebrations, Sturm will have to score goals. He led the Bruins with 27 in 2007-08, matching his total from 2006-07. Before his 2008-09 season was ended abruptly by the knee injury and some neck problems, he had 7 goals in 19 games. His teammates have no doubt he can put the puck in the net, and they like what they've seen so far.

Veteran forward Mark Recchi hasn't played a game with Sturm, but he has played a lot against him and he knows what Sturm can do offensively.

"I obviously haven't had much chance to play with him except over the first few days of camp here, but from playing against him, I know what a scoring threat he is," said Recchi, who joined the team at the trading deadline in March. "He's pretty fast out there too, and we know how important speed is in today's game. He looks like he hasn't lost that speed so far and I think the more speed and scoring we have the better."

Sturm said he feels healthy and confident, but doesn't think he's completely back yet. Of course he wants to find the back of the net often but for now, it's more about getting his timing back and legs underneath him.

"It's not even just about my knee," said Sturm. "It's the game, timing, everything. The body wasn't used to this for nine or 10 months. I've just got to get used to playing and get that same routine back again."

With P.J. Axelsson, one of the Bruins best penalty-killers of the last decade gone, Sturm will most likely see increased time there as well. He said he's happy to help in any way he can and is simply happy to be back.

"I will do whatever they need me to do," he said. "I have experience killing penalties and on power plays; I'm just happy to be back on the ice and really back with the guys and around the game every day."

Coach Claude Julien can't say enough about having Sturm back and the determination he's showed to get back to this point.

"You've got to give Marco a lot of credit," Julien said. "He's really committed himself to coming back in good shape and at 100 percent. We saw a guy that was skating well. He didn't look like he'd been out for a year. That's encouraging, and hopefully in these exhibition games he'll find his touch again and be ready for the start of the season."
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