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Member Since 30 Jun 2012
Offline Last Active Jul 11 2013 03:23 PM

#2315236 Jonathan Ericsson. Knock, knock...

Posted by Wing Across The Pond on 04 July 2012 - 08:21 PM

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.