TAMPA – It wasn’t with much fanfare or a big announcement, but it appears that Marco Sturm’s NHL career has come to a close.
The speedy German forward was a visitor to the BB&T Center home of the Florida Panthers on Thursday morning to take in the Bruins practice, and say hello to his former teammates in Boston. Sturm had gone out to dinner with Dennis Seidenberg and Shawn Thornton among others the night before, and then brought his daughters to take in the team’s morning skate.
Sturm played last season in Germany with the Cologne Sharks during the lockout, but the 35-year-old couldn’t find anything beyond a tryout headed into this season. Knee problems and old age had taken away much of Sturm’s trademark skating speed, and he wasn’t willing to leave his family to play far away from their Florida home.
“I’m just being a good dad, you know. I’m taking it easy right now,” said Sturm, who finished with 96 goals and 97 assists for 193 points in his five seasons with the Black and Gold. “I wasn’t ready to go this year for a whole year without my family. We found our home a little bit [in Florida.] We’re going to stay here with the kids back in school.
“In the summer I was checking it out to see if anything was available. There was one tryout and I said ‘No’ because there wasn’t a very good chance to make it.”
So now Sturm plays the role of doting dad, and protests that he has no interest in coaching anytime soon aside from coaching his son’s youth team.
Perhaps he’ll play in Europe next season if the mood strikes him, but Sturm sounded like a guy that was at peace after finishing his NHL career with three goals and five points in 45 games for the Florida Panthers and Vancouver Canucks in 2011-12. In all Sturm played 14 NHL seasons and scored 242 goals and 245 assists for 487 points in 938 regular season games, and was an exciting playing in his prime years for the Bruins.
“It’s a little different right now. I had dinner with the [Bruins] guys [on Wednesday] night, and it feels a little weird. You still feel pretty young, and you feel like you can play. But I had a great run, had a great time here and played a lot of years in this league,” said Sturm. “Unfortunately injuries took me down a bit, but I’m really happy with the way that things went. Now it’s the next stage in my life, and I’m excited be around my kids all the time.”
Sturm will always be remembered for a few things during his time in Boston: his role as one of the three players traded from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Jumbo Joe Thornton in a franchise-altering deal, the trademark intense “Sturm Face” whenever he scored a goal, the memorable scores he potted in an epic Game 6 against the Montreal Canadiens in the 2007-08 Stanley Cup playoffs, and the game-winning goal in Boston’s Winter Classic victory in overtime at Fenway Park.