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Wing Across The Pond

Jonathan Ericsson. Knock, knock...

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Jonathan Ericsson. Knock, knock, it's destiny calling.

A quote is a simple thing. It has no physical form but for the movement of lips or the vibration of air, perhaps even the paper or screen on which it is recorded, yet at it's heart it is entirely simple. It is but words strung together. Different words for different means. Poetic words, strong words, abusive words, kind words. Words that question, words that rally, words that challenge or accept. But simple words none the less. There is a famous quote, one that many of you may have seen numerous time before, even in this very place, that consists of words in equation:

'To whom much is given, much is expected'.

A sort of Yin and Yang if you will. Action and reaction. Yet still a quote of simple powerlessness. For a quote can only acquire strength and meaning through situation. A moment in time where mere words define action in such a way as to have been meant. To have been written in the stars.

Some people in this world believe strongly in things that others may cast aside as legend or myth, believe in structure and purpose against chance and coincidence. Fate. I cannot say I am one of these people, yet I do believe in opportunity to design your own fate. To control a personal destiny if you so choose to take your chances. Jonathan Ericsson? His time is now.

I was talking with a friend earlier today about the less than promising situation facing us this year following the departure of Lidstrom and Stuart, and whilst big things were said about the future of Smith and his potential to be a great of the future I couldn't shake the idea within my head that this could be the single greatest opportunity that Ericsson's life will throw his way. Something inside me seems to be wishing him to be the replacement for Lidstrom that we've all been searching for. Wishing for! Yes, I can't deny he's a whipping boy at times, yet I struggle to think of such a time in recent history. Yes, he's made mistakes on the ice, yet again I struggle to think of others who hadn't also. As a player drafted and trained by this single organisation, moulded into the player that they entirely wanted him to be, cannot simply be put down to chance. There must be a reason for his journey through this team. A young Swede who loves the game and has worked hard in the shadow of possibly the greatest defenceman of all time, a countryman and icon whom he wills to be like one day. A player who has grown to be strong defensively, in his own zone, much like the icon he once used to watch. He isn't near that level yet but there are many years left in the tank and he can only move forward.

Whereas some see a hole on the blue line in the vacated space left by Lidstrom, a void that cannot be filled entirely but partially patched over in the hope that nobody will notice, I cannot help but see an opportunity. Following a solid season from Ericsson, earning ice time in a variety of situations designed to test his skill and nerve and desire, his "metal", I do not look at the coincidence of an ever-improving player and a newly-retired legend. Yin and Yang again. Two sides to the same coin. I instead look towards the opportunity. A chance for a young player to provide the situation for which the quote can draw meaning. A young player to whom much has been given and now has the chance to pay back in full. In retirement, as in much of his career, Nick Lidstrom is incomparable, yet if it had to be done with this Red Wings roster I see no better candidate than Ericsson. He's not flashy. He's stable. He's not devastating. He's smart. His offensive game lacks a little something but nothing that cannot be gained with practice. He could have the skill set and the personality to be another truly great defenceman in the mould of the Red Wings system, not simply a spare part brought in with the hope that it fits. After all, these can be notoriously hit and miss (White as a potential Rafalski replacement springs to mind).

Perhaps nothing of this has sunk in with anyone who happens to read it. Perhaps Ericsson will be nothing more than what I have outlined: a solid, sensible, and smart 2nd pairing D-man. Perhaps my tiredness has got the better of me and has rendered me delirious, yet something inside of me cannot shake this feeling that this year, with a little confidence and a bit of belief, Jonathan Ericsson could start to pay back a little of all that has been invested in him. Oh well, at the very least one can hope.

steverman, T-Ruff, Dabura and 6 others like this

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Nick and Stewie's departure already placed an immense amount of pressure on Ericsson. They sat him next to Nick and Stewie in the locker room for a reason, moreso Stewie. It was so that Jonny will one day become a horse of a dman like him. I believe regardless of who else the Wings acquire if anybody that Ericsson has to exceed expectations this year.

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Good stuff.

Thanks. I know a lot of people on here wont necessarily see eye to eye with me on this one, but it's simply a feeling that I can't shake inside.

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Nicely written, unfortunately Ericcson only answers doorbells. In all seriousness though, I think the best we can expect from E is he becomes a premier shut down defenseman. He will never quarterback a PP or put up 80 pts. I think his emergence coupled with Smiths will be Lidstoms replacement, but Smith has a bit to go.

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Ericsson couldn't make the next step when he was being coddled, he will not make it next season. Hes overpaid, and boneheaded defensively, I don't expect to see any difference next season.

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Ericsson couldn't make the next step when he was being coddled, he will not make it next season. Hes overpaid, and boneheaded defensively, I don't expect to see any difference next season.

Ericsson was our 2nd best D man in the playoffs this year. E has made great strides. He will never be a point producing defenseman, but when it comes to PK or shutting down the opposition he has improved a ton.

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Ericsson was our 2nd best D man in the playoffs this year. E has made great strides. He will never be a point producing defenseman, but when it comes to PK or shutting down the opposition he has improved a ton.

Lidstrom, Stuart, and White were all in my opinion better than Ericsson in the playoffs.

F.Michael likes this

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I for one think Big E has made great improvements in his game at least in his own zone. I like many Wings fans used to cringe every time he hit the ice, because of his boneheaded plays. Now however I don't notice him so much, which means he's screwing up much less than he used to. I hope he continues to improve and I also hope he uses that hard shot a bit more this season.

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No one was good in the playoffs. When you get bounced in 5 games in the first round it is the second worse thing that can possibly happen.

Now as for Ericsson:

1. Learn to hit better. You are 6'5" and you don't act like it. Clear the crease using your size and punish people in the corners and behind the net. Use the summer to bulk up and hit the weights. You are not expected to be a fast skater, so be a solid body that can't be run by people like Parise and Erat.

2. Shoot more. You have a 100mph slapshot. Use it. Goals come from shots.

3. EARN THAT RIDICULOUS GODDAMN CHECK! Seriously, you should have been our MVP last season after that signing.

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People praying to Ericcson to become a solid d man? Please. This guy is a 6th dman. Not a top 4.

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Top 4 on this team as of now... The guy is a defensive defenseman and pretty good I might add. People can't tell if a defenseman is good unless he has a hit on tsn highlights or gets points every game. Ericsson is solid and getting better. Funny how nobody noticed the leap forward he took in the playoffs while the whole team struggled. At least the important people noticed, the ones in the organization so Ericsson will get what he has deserved this season... Playing time and maybe even throw him on the PP... Thn we will have a guy who logs major minutes, kills penalties and scores all the while not receiving any shred of credit from these forums

Hockeymom1960 likes this

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People praying to Ericcson to become a solid d man? Please. This guy is a 6th dman. Not a top 4.

As per joesuffP as well, he IS a top 4 dman by virtue of necessity at the moment. A lot of people wont like it and will see him as you see him, but I'm just hoping that he can use that good stable defensive play as a basis to move forward and become something more for a team that has invested so much in him.

Lidstrom, Stuart, and White were all in my opinion better than Ericsson in the playoffs.

This is pretty much why I felt so weird writing this piece... he divides opinion so much that I'm probably hoping more than anything. As with Axe's comment above, lots of people have lots of opinions on the guy and I fear I'm basing my theory on blind hope. Yet maybe it could happen.

Lol then again my friend said, "nah... maybe Kindl but not E". I couldn't help but laugh.

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I personally feel for Jimmy Howard...He's gonna have to wear his superman underoos on a nightly basis in order to make this team playoff worthy.

steverman likes this

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People praying to Ericcson to become a solid d man? Please. This guy is a 6th dman. Not a top 4.

You are such an expert on talent, how bout telling us your background and what great hockey expert educated you!

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Gabe. Dude. You stoned or something? That was...eloquent.

Jonny has potential. He has shown flashes. He needs to get it going on a regular basis. He's coming. He just needs to take the next step.

When we had Lids and Stewie, we didn't desparetly need him to step up. Now we need it.

Will he do it? I sure hope so.

Vladifan likes this

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No one was good in the playoffs. When you get bounced in 5 games in the first round it is the second worse thing that can possibly happen.

Now as for Ericsson:

1. Learn to hit better. You are 6'5" and you don't act like it. Clear the crease using your size and punish people in the corners and behind the net. Use the summer to bulk up and hit the weights. You are not expected to be a fast skater, so be a solid body that can't be run by people like Parise and Erat.

2. Shoot more. You have a 100mph slapshot. Use it. Goals come from shots.

3. EARN THAT RIDICULOUS GODDAMN CHECK! Seriously, you should have been our MVP last season after that signing.

Ian looked like a high school player when Lidstrom was out of the lineup. Piss and moan obout his paycheck!

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Ian looked like a high school player when Lidstrom was out of the lineup. Piss and moan obout his paycheck!

Ian White fills a need, a righty. Ericsson can be replaced unless he plays to his supposed potential and his contract.

And why would I complain about his contract which is $375,000 less than Ericsson's (BTW he had almost 3x as many points as Ericsson) and after signing it he had the best season of his career while Ericsson had a drop in productivity?

I know he blocked shots and played on the PK a lot, but that doesn't win Cups now does it. Having more goals than the other team wins Cups.

Edited by Wings_Dynasty

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Ian White fills a need, a righty. Ericsson can be replaced unless he plays to his supposed potential and his contract.

And why would I complain about his contract which is $375,000 less than Ericsson's (BTW he had almost 3x as many points as Ericsson) and after signing it he had the best season of his career while Ericsson had a drop in productivity?

I know he blocked shots and played on the PK a lot, but that doesn't win Cups now does it. Having more goals than the other team wins Cups.

Pk, blocking shots, and playing defense have as much to do with winning a cup as scoring. They are all important factors that go into the final score.

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Ian White fills a need, a righty. Ericsson can be replaced unless he plays to his supposed potential and his contract.

And why would I complain about his contract which is $375,000 less than Ericsson's (BTW he had almost 3x as many points as Ericsson) and after signing it he had the best season of his career while Ericsson had a drop in productivity?

I know he blocked shots and played on the PK a lot, but that doesn't win Cups now does it. Having more goals than the other team wins Cups.

Oh man I forgot, defense is all about gaining points. I'm so naive.

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I think a lot of Ericsson's problem with scoring has been confidence. In this last year I've noticed he has been getting more and more confident, and going into next season I believe he will surprise a lot of people and step up. Ericsson's defence is quite good right now. He just has to take a step forward offensively and he'll get the chance this year. At the end of last season, and the first round of the playoffs, Ericsson was great and was even making some Lidstrom-esque first passes. He was moving the puck well out of his own zone and his all around defence was great. Ericsson's problem has been making plays in the offensive zone. A lot of how Ericsson plays has to do with confidence... some days when he makes a bad play he looks uncomfortable and lost and he just keeps making bad plays. Now he has a lot of reasons to be confident and the team is looking for him to take a huge step forward.

Ericsson started as a blank slate, and year after year he has grown new skills. His defence is finally where it should be. Positionally he is great. Now his offence needs to take a step forward

Oh man I forgot, defense is all about gaining points. I'm so naive.

That's why certain D man get scrutinized so unfairly. Some people don't notice great defence unless they're piling up the points

55fan likes this

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Ian White fills a need, a righty. Ericsson can be replaced unless he plays to his supposed potential and his contract.

And why would I complain about his contract which is $375,000 less than Ericsson's (BTW he had almost 3x as many points as Ericsson) and after signing it he had the best season of his career while Ericsson had a drop in productivity?

I know he blocked shots and played on the PK a lot, but that doesn't win Cups now does it. Having more goals than the other team wins Cups.

As I said b4 Ian played absolutely AWFUL without Lidstrom, and gee whiz, he had the best year of his career, Ya think Lids may have had something to do with that? I guess we'll just have to see how he does without the perfect human, eh!

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