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Friday, April 15, 2011
Sturm's sudden arrival in D.C. working out

By Scott Burnside

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- This season has been nothing if not tumultuous for veteran Washington winger Marco Sturm.

After rehabbing a serious knee injury sustained in the first game of the second round of the 2010 playoffs, Sturm was traded by Boston to Los Angeles and later picked up on waivers by the Capitals.

"It's been crazy," Sturm told ESPN.com.

The German-born Sturm said it has been a difficult season because he loved playing in Boston and didn't want to leave. But the Bruins were making changes to their roster for what they hope will be a long playoff run and Sturm, who was still rehabbing his injury at the time, didn't fit into the plans.

In Los Angeles, the Kings needed to make room on their roster and GM Dean Lombardi told Sturm he was going to put him on waivers because he didn't think teams would take a chance on him given his injury issues. But the Caps decided to take a chance on a player who has played in 53 NHL playoff games and was a seven-time 20-goal scorer.

"It was a little bit out of the blue," Sturm said of his sudden arrival in Washington.

On the ice, Sturm has quickly found a groove playing with Jason Arnott, who was acquired from New Jersey at the trade deadline, and Game 1 overtime hero Alexander Semin.

Sturm collected a goal and four assists in his last six regular-season games. "I like the way we kind of came together after the deadline," Sturm said.

Boudreau said he likes the unit because of the different elements each of the players brings to the table.

"I just think Jason is a great mentor to Alex Semin and it's always good to have a guy that's really responsible defensively on that line as well, so it seemed like a natural fit," Boudreau said. "Marco had been playing really good for us and I wanted to get him more minutes. It seemed like a natural fit at the time."

The Caps' coach has been pleased at how easily Sturm has blended into what is a tight dressing room.

"I didn't really know much about him except when he was in Boston. Everybody talked about him being a really good third-line, responsible-20-goal type of guy," Boudreau said. "He hasn't scored the goals even though he's getting opportunities, but as a teammate and as an older guy that gives you real good leadership in the room and a great work ethic, he's done really well."

One good thing about the move back to the Eastern Conference is it brings Sturm closer to his family, which includes two children, ages 7 and 4. After Sturm was traded, his family stayed behind in Boston so the kids' school year wouldn't be disrupted, but the separation since last November has been difficult for all.

"I'm a family guy, so it's been hard. My oldest one, he's starting to cry a little," he said. "They are trying to visit come every weekend now. I'm trying to stay positive because it's not just been about moving around, but the injury, too."

Sturm acknowledged some lingering issues with the injury remain, and with his contract coming up at the end of the season, there is uncertainty regarding his future. Still, a long playoff run will certainly go a long way to ending his difficult season on a positive note.