Kings acquire Marco Sturm from Boston
The Kings will have a new face at practice Wednesday and will welcome back two familiar faces — though one has 20 fresh stitches.
The long-discussed trade for Boston left wing Marco Sturm became official Tuesday after Kings doctors approved results of tests performed on his surgically repaired knees. The seven-time 20-goal scorer then flew to St. Louis, where the Kings face the Blues on Thursday.
Sturm will share the Scottrade Center ice with defenseman Matt Greene, who missed most of Monday’s 5-0 victory at Detroit after a hard check turned his knees to jelly, and defenseman Rob Scuderi, who was cut in the mouth by a high stick and spent much of Tuesday in a dentist’s chair.
Acquiring Sturm, who’s eligible for unrestricted free agency July 1, was contingent on his passing a physical. That wasn’t a sure thing. He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in December 2008 and tore the ACL and medial collateral ligament in his right knee in May — serious obstacles for a player whose game relies on speed.
But the Kings, eager for a top-six forward and scoring from the left side, aren’t risking much. They must pay a prorated portion of his $3.5-million salary but retain ample salary cap space for future moves. They won’t give any assets to the Bruins, who wanted to clear cap space.
“I feel great. It was a long two weeks for me too,” said Sturm, who waived his no-trade clause. “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.
“I’m really excited to be an L.A. King now. I’m just going to give my best to help the team and maybe take it to the next level.”
Sturm, 32, was drafted by San Jose in 1996 when current Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi had that job with the Sharks. Sturm said the Kings are “a fun team to watch. I think it’s a good fit for me, too.”
Coach Terry Murray, who gave players a day off after Jonathan Quick’s 51-save performance, said he wants to see Sturm practice before deciding when Sturm will crack the lineup.
Greene and Scuderi, meanwhile, were cleared to play after Greene went through a workout with no problems and Scuderi’s mouth was stitched up. Murray said Scuderi will wear a protective mouth bar.
Murray said he was puzzled when Greene wasn’t allowed to play the last two periods Monday. “That ended up being a real precautionary call by the doctor,” Murray said. “He started the second period on the bench but they pulled him out. They erred on the side of caution.”
Without Greene and Scuderi, Willie Mitchell — playing his first game since fracturing his left hand Nov. 6 —was outstanding in 27 minutes and 10 seconds of ice time. “He had a big impact on our hockey club,” Murray said. “He brought a veteran presence to the bench and his work on the penalty killing helped settle things.”
Murray was also pleased with Drew Doughty’s three assists and overall game.
“He really competed hard,” Murray said, adding that the goal originally credited to Doughty and later given to Anze Kopitar on a deflection was “vintage Doughty from last year. He was holding the puck, dragging it across the blue line, freezing the forward and moving to change the angle of his shot. I think his game is back and we just keep going from this point.”
Murray said Quick will start Thursday, but it’s “a reasonable assumption” Jonathan Bernier will start Saturday at Nashville. Bernier defeated the Predators on Nov. 6 for one of his two victories this season, and he shut them out March 30 at Nashville. … Though Quick was spectacular, he didn’t set a team record for saves. That belongs to Mario Lessard, who stopped 65 shots in a 4-3 victory March 24, 1981 at Minnesota.