December 26, 2010 2:00 pm

Sturm stepping into bigger role

In the third period of Thursday’s game against Edmonton, Marco Sturm moved up to the first line with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. Sturm’s first five periods with the Kings were spent on the fourth line, as Terry Murray wanted to ease Sturm back into the NHL after Sturm spent the summer, and the first two-plus months of this season, recovering from knee surgery. Now, the Kings believe Sturm is ready to go in a higher-profile role. This morning, Sturm and Murray talked about the move…

Question: The plan was to use those first couple games to help you get your legs under you. Do you feel like you got in the work that you needed, in that area?

STURM: “I will probably need some more, but that was definitely the right way to start it. We kind of switched it last game, in the third period, and that’s when I found my game slowly coming back. That was a good start, but I know I can do a lot better.”

Question: The thought is that you can use your speed to help open up things for the other guys. Is that the plan?

STURM: “Definitely. I’m a pretty simple forward player. I’ll just try to create some more room for them with my speed, and I’ve just got to find a way to use. It should be a really good line.”

And here are Murray’s thoughts, starting with his decision to elevate Sturm to the first line tonight…

MURRAY: “I talked to him this morning, before the practice, and he’s had a couple of games now, to get his feet under himself. He felt better in the third period. It’s time to move up and just get his game going at a higher level, with the top line.”

Question: Is the thought there that he can use some speed to open things up for the other two guys?

MURRAY: “The whole part of his game should be very good for Brownie and for Kopi, using his speed. He’s a north-south player. He can recover pucks. He’s got great quickness. He gets on those opportunities that are laying there, with recovery, and generate some second and third opportunities. Away from the puck, he’s responsible. He’s a veteran player. That’s why we made the move to get him, is to add that experience and that depth on the top line.”

Question: Would he stay with that unit on the power play as well?

MURRAY: “We haven’t really gotten into that yet, quite honestly, on the power play. There will be a time when we talk about it. Once we see him feeling real good on the 5-on-5 part of it, then we’ll address that.”

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