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Sturm ready to make season debut for Kings

by Rick Sadowski /
DENVER -- Marco Sturm is eager to resume his NHL career and is viewing his season debut Tuesday night with the Los Angeles Kings as a new start.

The 32-year-old forward, who underwent major surgery on his right knee in May, will skate on the fourth line with center Trevor Lewis and right wing Alexei Ponikarovsky against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center.

Sturm was acquired from the Boston Bruins in a Dec. 11 trade for future considerations. He joined the Kings last week after undergoing a battery of tests on his knees. He has been doing plenty of skating and on Tuesday was activated from injured reserve.

Sturm said after Tuesday's morning skate that he's anxious to play in his first game since getting hurt last May 1 in Game 1 of the Bruins' Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series with the Philadelphia Flyers.

"Oh, definitely," he said. "As soon as I knew I was going to get out of Boston, I think maybe it's a good thing to start fresh again, to start a new part of my career with a new team. It's exciting."

Sturm has scored 20 or more goals seven times in an NHL career that began with the San Jose Sharks in 1997-98, but he's been plagued by knee injuries in recent seasons. He was limited to 19 games in 2008-09 after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Kings coach Terry Murray considered putting Sturm on the top line with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown but has decided to ease him into the lineup. Brad Richardson, who had a hat trick against the Avalanche in a 6-4 win on Oct. 23, will skate at left wing with Kopitar and Brown.

"Yeah, it's been quite a while (since Sturm played in a game)," Murray said. "I just want to get him started, get him into a line where he's going to play against, hopefully, their third and fourth line, and not put a lot of big responsibility on his shoulders in that first game. Get his feet under himself, get skating, get the feel of the game again and just start to get physically and mentally back into it."
"As soon as I knew I was going to get out of Boston, I think maybe it's a good thing to start fresh again, to start a new part of my career with a new team. It's exciting." -- Marco Sturm
Sturm said he feels fine physically.

"The most important thing for me now is it's more in the head and in the legs that you sometimes have to battle," he said. "That's why it takes probably a few games to get used to it again. I think it's more mental right now than anything else.

"My goal is to get playing again and be the same player as I was before. I know it's not going to happen right away. I had a really good week here and I felt better and better, so we decided to go."

Sturm has 234 goals and 232 assists in 855 NHL games, along with eight goals and 11 assists in 52 playoff games. He is the all-time NHL leader in games played, goals, assists and points by a German-born player.

Avalanche still hot:
Colorado takes a six-game winning streak into Tuesday's game, matching a season-best six-game streak it had last year from Jan. 9-24. The Avalanche have outscored teams 27-19 during the streak.

"They're a track meet team," Murray said. "They come with a lot of speed, with four on the rush all the time on the attack. They are a rush team. They make plays to the net with possession. They're a real good transition team."

Avalanche forwards Milan Hejduk and Cody McLeod did some skating Tuesday morning but remain sidelined with groin injuries. Left wing Daniel Winnik will play after missing Sunday's 3-2 win against Montreal with the flu, but coach Joe Sacco said he hadn't yet decided whether to go with six or seven defensemen.

Craig Anderson will make his eighth consecutive start in goal for the Avalanche. Jonathan Quick will make his second start in a row in the crease for the Kings.
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