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Sturm deal to LA in peril, possibly dead

Posted by Kevin Paul Dupont, Globe Staff  December 2, 2010 12:53 PM

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TSN.ca reported earlier today that Bruins winger Marco Sturm, who was on the ice at the Garden for an informal practice this morning, had been traded to the LA Kings.

But that report came hours ago, soon after the Bruins held a late-morning optional skate at the Garden, and it now looks as if the deal has reached the ''failure to launch'' stage.

More than seven hours after TSN broke word of the story, possibly for a conditional draft pick coming to Boston in return, nothing has been confirmed from either club.

Meanwhile, word around the Staples Center, where the Kings tonight face the Florida Panthers, is that the deal has fallen apart--most likely after Sturm met with doctors in the afternoon for a physical exam aimed at assuring the Kings that he was fit enough for them to take on what remains of his $3.5 million contract.

The Bruins, remember, omitted the examination contingency in March 1994 when they acquired Al Iafrate from Washington in the swap for Joe Juneau. Iafrate turned out to be damaged goods.

Sturm, who blew out his knee in the playoffs, has been nearing a return to the lineup, leading GM Peter Chiarelli to seek a number of alternatives to make room on the roster/salary cap for his Strum's $3.5 million cap hit.

Sturm, who turned 32 years old in September, is among the fastest skaters in the league, provided his injured knee is back at full strength.

After missing most of 2008-'09 with a a knee injury, the German-born Sturm returned last season and collected a respectable 22 goals, but only 37 points, in 76 games. He then blew out his knee in the club's seventh game of the post-season and required extensive off-season surgery.

It's possible the Bruins informed Sturm in recent days that he might be assigned to Providence (AHL). Such type of speculation has a way of, shall we say, convincing players to waive their ''No Trade'' clauses.

Like the vast majority of NHL clubs, including the Bruins of late, the Kings can use more scorers. As of today, they are led in that department by Justin Williams and Dustin Brown, each of whom has potted nine goals at this point, roughly one-third of the way through the not-so-new season.

Sturm remains the last man standing from the Nov. 30, 2005 deal that sent Jumbo Joe Thornton to San Jose. In his Hub tenure, Sturm potted 106 goals.

Since pulling on Teal, Thornton has scored 124 goals and perenially has become an increasingly reluctant shooter. In 21 games this season, Thornton has landed but 30 shots.

If Sturm is dealt, it could allow some breathing room for Michael Ryder, rumored since last season to be on the way out because of his goal-scoring struggles.

Ryder thus far has six goals and 14 points, a somewhat humble pace but nonetheless better than the paltry 18-15--33 he put up last season. He, too, will reach UFA status on July 1.

Ryder's current output has him on pace for 50 points over 82 games--much like the 53 he put up his first year in the Hub of Hockey.

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