No word yet on Sturm
Left wing suffers early leg injury
This being the playoffs, coach Claude Julien was expectedly tight-lipped when quizzed about Marco Sturm’s first-shift leg injury.
“He’s being evaluated,’’ Julien said after yesterday’s 5-4 overtime win. “I think, if anything, we’ll probably have something more specific for you guys by tomorrow.’’
But given Sturm’s reaction — on his hands and knees, unable to get up even when the puck left the zone — and the team’s prompt declaration (approximately seven minutes into the game) that he would not return, it’s a good bet that the left wing suffered a significant injury.
“It’s always tough to see a teammate going down,’’ said Zdeno Chara. “Our bench was one man short, so those things kind of happen. We can’t really control them.
“Obviously the guys up front really shared the load and played really hard. For sure it wasn’t easy for them.’’
On the game-opening shift, Sturm threw a check on Matt Carle along the right-side boards in the offensive zone. Sturm fell and never got up. Play continued for approximately 15 seconds until Tuukka Rask covered the puck at 0:41. Trainer Don DelNegro finally was given the green light to attend to Sturm.
With help from Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi, Sturm skated off while flexing his right leg.
On Dec. 18, 2008, Sturm tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee, injuries that ended his season.
“It’s never easy when you lose a guy on his first shift,’’ said Julien, who had started the game with Sturm on the first line with Bergeron and Mark Recchi. “We had some set lines that we wished we could have been using.’’
The blow of Sturm’s injury was somewhat lessened when Steve Begin, taking a spin at left wing alongside Bergeron and Recchi, scored the game’s first goal at 2:39. Johnny Boychuk started the play by pinching down the wall and sending the puck to Recchi behind the net. Recchi swung out front and threw a backhander on goal that bounced off traffic and caromed to Begin’s stick. Begin wasted little time firing the puck past Brian Boucher. “I knew, when he threw me out there with Bergy and Rex, that something was going to happen,’’ said Begin (two shots, four hits, 71 percent faceoff efficiency in 12:08 of ice time). “It’s easy with them. You’ve got to go to the net. They’re so strong on the puck. They’re so smart. They work so hard.
“You know something’s going to happen out there. I went to the net, the puck ended up on my stick, and I just had to shoot it in.’’
If Sturm becomes unavailable, Shawn Thornton, a healthy scratch yesterday, most likely would reenter the lineup. Daniel Paille could replace Sturm on the No. 1 line.
Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at email@example.com.