Detroit – Jonathan Ericsson envisioned this season – both for the Red Wings and himself – going a certain way.
But not this way, not at all.
The Wings, brought down by injuries inexperience, and their own lackluster play, have struggled.
But Ericsson has struggled even more.
“It’s been frustrating. It’s been, at times, where I’m wondering, what is going on?” Ericsson said. “Like what did I do? … Give me break.”
This has been going for two seasons, really, and three of the last four.
Ericsson was limited to 52 games last season because of back and knee injuries and it slowed him heading into September’s training camp.
But Ericsson was skating and practicing in Traverse City, then hurt his back in the first exhibition game he played, which set him back again.
Since he hadn’t played in a game since March, it made sense to send Ericsson to Grand Rapids in late October, where he played 10 games for the minor league affiliate Griffins.
“Going down to Grand Rapids, I started to feel good again,” Ericsson said. “I hadn’t played, obviously. It was tough. You get going, and then all these setbacks, and you have to start all over again.
“It’s not like I’m 22 (years old) anymore. It takes a little bit of time to get back.”
Ericsson was brought up in time for the Nov. 14 game in Los Angeles. A week later, in his first practice back in Detroit, Ericsson took a stick in the face and needed stitches.
“Every time I’ve come back, there’s something,” Ericsson said.
Ericsson played in nine games with the Wings before taking an errant stick to the nose from Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty on Dec. 15, causing a bad break.
Ericsson needed surgery a few days later. At home following the surgery, Ericsson suffered persistent migraines, and he had to sleep while sitting up because of breathing issues and limiting the amount of blood drainage from his nose.
It made for a rough holiday season.
“I was sleeping about 10 minutes at a time,” Ericsson said.
Ericsson returned to the ice about a week ago, but it’s been a gradual process getting his strength back.
“I didn’t do anything for a while (after the nasal surgery) so everything in my body thought I had died,” said Ericsson, 35. “Everything got shut down. Nothing wanted to fire up as normal. I didn’t have those issues when I was younger, but those are issues you have to deal with now.
“But I’m starting to feel good the last couple of practices. I’m breathing better, breathing through my mouth. It’s a bit of an adjustment.”
Ericsson is on the last year of a six-year contract worth $25.5 million ($4.25 million cap hit). The Wings aren’t likely to re-sign Ericsson, given the organization’s rebuilding status.
Ericsson isn’t sure what he will do beyond this season, but knows he wants to finish this season on a much better note.
“I’m just going to take it as it comes,” he said. “I just want to get healthy and finish strong. I want to play and play all right.”
Senators at Red Wings
Faceoff: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Little Caesars Arena
TV/radio: FSD/97.1 FM
Outlook: Ottawa (16-22-5) has surprised all season but has fallen on hard times lately – four straight losses and eight of its last 10 (2-5-3). … The Senators are led by LW Anthony Duclair (21 goals) and C Jean-Gabriel Pageau (19 goals).