His season terminated, Sturm vows to be back

BOSTON – Four months shy of his 32nd birthday, Bruins forward Marco Sturm suddenly has to re-start his career.

That’s what it’s like when you blow out your ACL and MCL in one play and will need six months of post-surgery recovery time.

“I’m still speechless, probably,” Sturm said today at TD Garden in his first public comments since he suffered the injury Saturday on the first shift of Game 1 of Boston’s Eastern Conference semifinal series with Philadelphia.

“After the ACL from last year, I just never thought there was going to be another injury like this. It’s a tough one, but I always came back from big injuries and I’m going to do it again. Yeah, but it’s definitely tough.”

Sturm missed all but 19 games last season after surgery on his left ACL. Now he knows there’s a tough road ahead to make it back from the same injury to his right leg.

“Yeah, I mean that’s going to be the toughest challenge here,” Sturm said. “The last one, I didn’t know what to expect so I just went at it. I was around all season with the boys and that helped me a lot. This time I know how hard it was, rehab and all that. It’s a lot of work. … But I will come back, I know. I’ve just got to be patient. I’ve got my family to support me, I’ve got my family at home, so we’ll see. It will be hard, definitely, but again, I know what to expect now and I just want to try to do the best I can.”

There’s no telling how much speed Sturm, who looked a tad slower even this season, will lose going forward. He relies so much on that attribute that it’s difficult to know what kind of player the Bruins would be getting back if he returns for what will be the last year of his contract with Boston in 2010-11.

All we know now is that the Bruins have lost their leading goal-scorer from the regular season, even though he was mostly score-less the last two months. And they’re going to be without a key cog to a super-effective penalty kill. Head coach Claude Julien spoke today of Mark Recchi and Vladimir Sobotka filling Sturm’s role on the kill, and also utilizing Steve Begin for even more shorthanded minutes. But the synergy the Bruins created with three pairs of penalty killers is now lost.

Replacing him will be as difficult as his potential comeback.

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