Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson ready to play, painful finger or not

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — Four months away from hockey wasn’t enough time for Jonathan Ericsson to get healthy.

That, however, won’t keep him out of the Red Wings lineup when camp starts — or the season opener Oct. 9.

“I’m not going to be 100 percent, but I’ll be there when it starts,” said Ericsson, who had surgery to stabilize a fracture and reconnect a partially torn tendon in the middle finger of his left hand.

Ericsson’s finger was shattered by a shot March 18.

Still, he is struggling with regaining full motion in his finger, and though there isn’t any lingering pain, “it hurts a little bit.”

“I thought it was just a bad break at first, but when they did the surgery, everything (bones) fell apart,” Ericsson said. “There were pieces (of bones) they left out (when piecing the bones together) because they were so small.”

Scar tissue developed after the surgery, and combined with the decreased motion, any hope of going through full conditioning during the summer was dashed.

“It didn’t go as well as I’d hoped,” Ericsson said of his summer conditioning. “It took a lot longer time than I thought it would take (for the finger to heal). It still doesn’t feel 100 percent but I guess with these types of accidents, they take time.

“But it was a frustrating summer with the training. It was hard to hold a bar with weights on it.”

The smashed finger was the climax of an injury-marred season for Ericsson, a vital shut-down defenseman.

Along with a separated shoulder and some broken ribs, Ericsson was limited to 48 games last season, and finished with 11 points (one goal) and a plus-2 rating.

Ericsson plays on the top defensive pairing with Niklas Kronwall, so losing Ericsson for as much as the Red Wings did was a significant loss.

“He’s a key player on our team,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said of the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder.

Still, after such an injury-marred season, Ericsson is hoping for a reversal of fortune.

“It was real frustrating,” Ericsson said. “I’m hoping I’ve had my share of injuries for a while now. A few of them are still hanging on, which is a bit frustrating after not playing hockey for three months.

“I’m guess I’m getting old.”