"I need to perform this year."
He knocked a wasp away, talked about his decisive year ahead and took his black Mustang to the skerries. “One week left until things get serious," says Jonathan Ericsson
A stubborn wasp zooms between the tables at Fiskmagasinet (the Fish warehouse) and it tried, by all available means, to disturb him the middle of his fish soup. Norrköping's NHL star on the Detroit Red Wings got tired of it, got up and smashed the uninvited guest with one punch. It was a straight right punch, which fits all rinks on the other side of the Atlantic.
He's going back there soon
Jonathan Ericsson is about to start his final year with the red machine in Joe Louis Arena.
"I have to perform. It's a contract year. I'm going to do everything I can. Detroit has always talked about building the team around me, and some of the other young guys, but we have to show more and take a step forward, he says."
"A long term contract. To have the bags constantly packed by the door and not knowing from year to year feels uncertain."
Are you nervous?
"No. Not yet, but if we're sitting here next year and I don't have a contract then it would feel a little uncomfortable."
Detroit disappeared early this spring in their battle for the Stanley Cup. The team got knocked out by the San Jose Sharks.
"It was a weird season with all the injuries. We never got into our game. It can only get better this year."
The early exit did however open for an adventure at the World Championships in Germany.
"I still feel a bit disappointed over the loss to the Czech Republic in the semifinals. It was really hard. The bronze was worthless then, but it's okay now."
If you get the chance [to play for the] Tre Kronor again...
"Then I'll take it at once. No doubt."
Two new, but familiar and experienced faces will meet him in the locker room at Joe Louis Arena this autumn.
Center Mike Modano, 40, was aquired from Dallas. He is a playing legend in the NHL. No American has scored more points than Mike Modano, who has [registered] 1359 points in 1459 games. He won the Stanley Cup in 1999.
The defensman, Ruslan Salei, 35, has played 842 games with Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Florida Panthers and most recently the Colorado Avalanche. The Belarusian will, apparently, become "Jonte"'s new defense partner.
"It's leaning towards that. The coach will hardly move Lidström/Rafalski and Kronwall/Stuart, he says."
He will fly back to Detroit and the house in Novi in a week. On September 17th, the whole team goes to Traverse City for the tough prelude to the season.
"It will be tough - especially the first week - but I feel ready."
Summer house in the skerries
He has talked to Mike Babcock once after the season. He called, when Jonathan and Jimmie celebrated younger brother Jesper's 21st birthday in Las Vegas.
"I didn't hear who it was at first, just, 'Hey, buddy.' It was so unlike him. I asked who it was and got silent when it was the coach. He congratulated me for my effort at the World Championship," says "Jonte," and laughs.
He practiced with Vita Hästen this summer.
"They were really good practices. It could be an interesting season. They can take the step forward now. Their offense looks dangerous. They have four exciting scoring lines. Who's gonna take responsibility on their power play?"
He skipped Friday's practice.
"We have just bought a summer house out in the skärgården [the Stockholm archipelago] and we're going to go out and stay there for a while. We're gonna change some things, and want to plan a bit before I go back to Detroit and Evelina starts studying in Örebro. There's not much time left over," says "Jonte", who took his black Mustang to the skärgården.
The summer has also offered a grand wedding between teammate Henrik Zetterberg and Emma Andersson, a fishing contest in Norrland, new discoveries in Norrköping and a charity game with Niklas Kronwall in Järfälla.
"The wedding was unbelievable. It was grand. It was even like the weather was in party mode and gave us sunshine - even though all the forecasts predicted rain."
"I caught a 4.5 kilo pike by the cabin when we had the fishing contest. It wasn't enough, though. Daddy Sven aimed for a bass and won. It was the total weight of the catch that counted. I at least learned to fillet bass, which is a delicacy. Bass, boiled potatoes and dill sauce is one of my favorites."
He has hopped back and forth between restaurants in Norrköping.
"A lot has happened, with many good new places since I went out to eat the last time I was here. It's cool," says "Jonte", who is going to continue to be Norrkoping's Tidningar's man behind the curtains of the NHL this year.
A diary of the most important season of his career.