Sturm believes in German youth movement

Originally published on IHWC.NET in 2004

By Lucas Aykroyd

He’s not exactly a grizzled veteran, but at 25, Marco Sturm has established himself as a front-line player for both the San Jose Sharks and Team Germany. Selected 21st overall by San Jose in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft, the amiable Dingolfing native originally entered the league as a penalty-killing specialist. But nowadays, Sturm has been stepping up alongside Patrick Marleau and Vincent Damphousse on the attack and has emerged as a consistent 20-plus goal-scorer. Historically durable, the Landshut EV graduate has played more than 500 NHL games. Unfortunately, his solid 2003-04 campaign (21-20-41 in 64 games) came to an abrupt conclusion on March 5 when he broke his leg versus the Colorado Avalanche. Still, with an international resume that includes two Olympics, two IIHF World Championships, and two IIHF World Junior Championships, the 6-0, 195-pound left wing is an expert on the fortunes of Team Germany. IHWC.NET’s Lucas Aykroyd caught up with Sturm prior to his injury.

IHWC.NET: What’s the main reason you’ve been able to emerge as a NHL scoring threat in the last few years?

Marco Sturm: I think I’ve started to find my offense a little more. In the first three or four years I was here, the Sharks played defensively a lot. But now, I’m finding I can score some goals too. I use my speed more, and that helps.

IHWC.NET: In terms of getting an opportunity, how much has it helped you that guys like Teemu Selanne and Owen Nolan have moved on?

Sturm: It helps a lot. But at the same time, it was awesome to play with those guys. Last year, Teemu taught me and Patrick Marleau a lot. Just getting to watch him play was an experience.

IHWC.NET: Looking at the international scene, Germany seems to have established itself as the eighth-best hockey nation. What will it take for you to start getting some medals?

Sturm: Oh, not the medals yet! [laughs] But I think it is time for us to step up. We’ve got a really young team, and as we gain more experience, we need to chip in more. Hopefully we can do some damage in the international games coming up.

IHWC.NET: What’s the difference between playing for Hans Zach and the NHL coaches you’ve had?

Sturm: Everyone works harder with him. He’s really hard with the young guys, and they do what he tells them. But it works. Everyone is kind of a little bit afraid of him, among the younger guys, so they work their butts off. It’s fun to watch.

IHWC.NET: With the defensive system Zach uses, he doesn’t seem to worry too much about whether he has a lot of NHL players on his roster or not. What’s your opinion?

Sturm: It’s not that much fun for someone like me, playing that system. But against those top teams, we probably have to do it. We’re not as talented as they are, but you know, sometimes those other teams struggle too, and we have to take advantage of it. That’s our game. We have to stick with it, because we’re always huge underdogs.

IHWC.NET: What are your favorite memories from playing with Team Germany?

Sturm: Probably the World Championships in 2001. I mean, the Olympics were good, they were awesome, but playing in Germany was the best. We made the quarter-finals for the first time in a long while. The home crowd made it a great experience.

IHWC.NET: This season in San Jose, you’ve played with another German national team member, Christian Ehrhoff. How do you like the way he’s maturing as a defenseman?

Sturm: He’s doing really good. He played in the DEL, so that helped him a lot coming in. He needs some time, of course. He was sent down to the minors for a while this season. But you know what? That’s just part of the learning process. He’s always going to remember that, and in the future, I think he’s going to be a big part of this Sharks team. Digg it Furl iFeedReaders Netscape RawSugar reddit StumbleUpon Yahoo MyWeb YardBarker

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