Forward Marco Sturm is returning from reconstructive knee surgery, but he has been playing in the preseason and is expected to be back in the lineup when the Bruins open their regular season at home against the Capitals on Oct. 1.
With the team's leading goal scorer in 2008-09, Phil Kessel, out until at least mid-November and possibly not returning to Boston because of a contract stalemate, Sturm's offense would be both a welcome addition and a necessity. But that's not the only thing his teammates are longing for.
"I just can't wait to see his goal celebrations," joked center Patrice Bergeron about the German winger's exuberance after scoring a goal and the enthusiasm he brings to the team. "It's always fun to have him around. It's good to have him on the ice. This week it was good to see him out there. I can't wait for him to be back with us on the ice this season. … He looks like the old Sturmy. It's just fun to have him with us."
Sturm led the Bruins in scoring in 2007-08 with 27 goals and had the same amount in 2006-07. Before his 2008-09 season ended abruptly due to the knee injury and some neck problems, he had seven goals in 19 games. And there remains no doubt in his teammates' minds that he can put the puck in the net. They've liked what they've seen so far and they appreciate his attitude and work ethic.
"We all know what he can do on the ice, but he is really one of the happiest guys I've met," said Bergeron, who himself missed much of the '07-08 season after suffering a concussion. "He works hard and enjoys doing it. Going through what I went through, I know what it's like to have the game just taken away from you like that. You can tell he missed it and appreciates the game and what he has."
Head coach Claude Julien can't say enough about having Sturm back and the determination he's showed to make it to this point.
"You've got to give Marco a lot of credit," the reigning Jack Adams Award winner said recently. "He's really committed himself to coming back in good shape and at 100 percent. We saw a guy that was skating well. He didn't look like he'd been out for a year. That's encouraging, and hopefully in these exhibition games he'll find his touch again and be ready for the start of the season."