SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 1: Marco Sturm #16 of the Florida Panthers and Dennis Wideman #6 of the Washington Capitals fight for control of a loose puck behind the net on February 1, 2012 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
The Florida Panthers have been hit hard with injuries of late, and they won't be getting winger Marco Sturm back for a few weeks.
The Florida Panthers are fighting to stay in first place in the Southeast Division -- fighting the Washington Capitals, and fighting Lady Luck. Over the past handful of months, the Cats have been forced to keep racking up points despite a number of key injuries, including a knee injury that's keeping starting goalie Jose Theodore on the sidelines.
Yesterday, the Panthers received a bit more bad news:
Sturm was acquired by the Panthers early in the season for David Booth, and he's played in only 28 games for them so far due to a myriad of injuries. This latest setback is disappointing, but should allow Sturm to return with (hopefully) fresh legs for the stretch run of the season.
When on the ice, Sturm has been a valuable forward. His shooting percentage this season is uncharacteristically low (4%) and should improve over time (12% career rate), but when on the ice, he has helped the Panthers put pressure on the opposing defense. The Cats have gotten off considerably more shots when Sturm is on the ice, and coach Dineen has used him in a similar role as Sean Bergenheim.
Hopefully Marco Sturm recovers from his minor surgery quickly, as he could be a valuable player for the Cats down the stretch.