After left wing Marco Sturm waited several weeks for the Kings to decide if they were comfortable enough with his injury history to accept him in a trade with the Boston Bruins and then had to pass two days of tests on his surgically repaired knees in Los Angeles, it seemed fitting that he encountered another delay after the trade was made official Tuesday.
Sturm’s patience was tested again when his flight to St. Louis to meet his new teammates was delayed. It all worked out in the end, as he arrived late Tuesday and practiced with the team Wednesday at the Scottrade Center.
“Finally made it,” he said cheerfully.
Coach Terry Murray said he’s targeting a Dec. 23 debut for Sturm, who has yet to play this season after undergoing surgery on his right ACL and MCL in May. Sturm joined the fourth-line pool and wore a red jersey in practice along with Kyle Clifford, Trevor Lewis, John Zeiler and Kevin Westgarth. Murray later said Clifford, Lewis and Westgarth will play Thursday against St. Louis.
Sturm participated in every drill and didn’t have to hold back. He said he has no knee pain but must work on his conditioning. He had been skating with the Bruins for the past few weeks.
“It was not easy. It was always up and down, but I knew eventually it’s going to get done,” Sturm said of his wait for the trade to go through. “I’m glad now everything is over and I can focus on hockey again.”
The German-born winger said knowing Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi, who drafted him in 1996 when Lombardi was general manager of the San Jose Sharks, was a minor factor in waiving his no-trade clause and agreeing to join the Kings.
“That helps too,” he said, “but I saw this team a few times and it’s a pretty exciting team, a young team. I like the way they play. And I think personally it was probably the best fit for me.”
A few other notes:
Defenseman Rob Scuderi, who needed 25 stitches to close a cut on his lip after he was high-sticked by Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader on Monday, said he bruised a tooth but didn’t lose any. However, he said he probably won’t wear a mouthguard Thursday.
He also said he can’t chew solid foods until the ugly-looking cut heals. “I’m eating pretty much oatmeal every single meal,” he said. “It will take a couple days.”
He has no fear, though, that the cut will scare his young children when he returns home. “My son got stitches last week. He took a slap shot when the ball went off the wall and came back and smacked him in the mouth, so we had to take him to get stitches,” Scuderi said of his 4-year-old, Ryan. “When he was watching the game he said I was copying him.”
Injuries to Scuderi and Matt Greene — who turned out to be fine — meant Willie Mitchell played more than 27 minutes Monday in his first game since he fractured his left hand Nov. 6. He responded with a strong effort under tough circumstances.
“First period I didn’t feel very good at all. With the injuries it kind of forced you to get into the game,” he said. “In the first period I was really tentative and I wasn’t playing my game and injuries happen and then you start rolling.
“I felt really good, like I settled in. No time for thinking. You were just reacting. It worked out nice in that aspect.”
More on Sturm and the Kings’ plans for him later at www.latimes.com/sports
-- Helene Elliott, in St. Louis
Photo: Marco Sturm. Credit: Jim McIsaac / Getty Images