After Terry Murray essentially did a public “airing of grievances” in terms of Marco Sturm, Sturm played on the Kings’ third line on Thursday and had one assist and two shots on goal in 13 minutes, 40 seconds, of ice time. Sturm is expected to stay on the third line tonight, but will move over to his natural left wing as Wayne Simmonds returns to the third line, in place of Kyle Clifford. Murray was asked yesterday about Sturm’s play against Nashville, and his first response was visual — a bit of a grimace — but Murray seemed to be more measured in his criticism…
MURRAY: “He’s still in training-camp mode. As I’ve said before, I understand it. I have that compassion, that he has to go through it in the games, that he has to get his game in order, that he’s coming to a new team, moving, very unsettled with everything that’s going on, a hotel, a place to live. It’s hard. It’s very difficult, and no matter how long you’ve been in the league, you have to go through those situations and just find a way to get your game in order and settle it in. I’m dealing with it. Not comfortably, but I’m going to keep pushing and keep talking, and we’re going to have to get his game back to the level that he knows he can play at. Quite honestly, I’m waiting to see what that level is, myself. I don’t know him well enough, over the years, to have put him under the microscope and say, `This is exactly what I’m going to get every shift, what I need, and this is the expectation.’ I’m waiting for him to show me, but I certainly have to see that high level of intensity and work every shift.”
Given that many players, even the hardest of workers — say, for instance, Michal Handzus in 2007-08 — can take significant time to return to regular form after returning from ACL surgery, Murray was asked how reasonable it was to expect Sturm to be at top form at this point in his comeback.
MURRAY: “It’s not unreasonable. I’ve had players come through this thing. Pavel Bure went through the second operation, the same kind of operation, on the same leg, and he was back and right on top of his game. He scored 57 goals for me that year. It’s very demanding. You’ve got to really push hard and go through a lot of pain in the off-ice part of things, to get yourself on the ice and ready to get going. Once you get on the ice, you’re pushing. You’ve got to get to that hard work every time, every shift, and that’s what I need from Marco. I think there’s times when there’s a skill element to his game, and he wants to play that kind of a game, but also we need that competitive side of it.”