Ericsson returns to lineup; Datsyuk getting closer to returning

DETROIT – Quick update from the Detroit Red Wings’ morning skate prior to their game tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson returns to the lineup after missing the last 10 games with broken ribs.

“I’m really excited,” Ericsson said. “I know it’s been a long wait. I’ve done this before too so it’s going to be nice to be back.

Ericsson also missed 10 games earlier this season with a shoulder injury.

“Right now it’s a matter of coming back and try to help the team as best as I can but also getting in shape as fast as possible, game shape, so it’s going to take a few games probably but we need all the bodies we can get back here and hopefully we can get back on track,” Ericsson said.

Ericsson will be paired with Niklas Kronwall on the blue line.

Ericsson will wear a flak jacket, one similar to what quarterback’s wear.

“I just knew it was going to take some time,” Ericsson said. “I know it was something that wasn’t going to get better overnight or so, I’ve been patient about it, I’ve been trying to stay positive and all that so it’s been good the whole time. I think it’s been going the healing process has been faster maybe than they thought so that’s good.”

Ericsson has one goal and seven assists this season.

“Hopefully it’s not going to be hard to ease into it, but I don’t know,” Ericsson said. “It’s going to be a good test today at least so we’ll see how it’s going to feel tomorrow or after the game.

“I’ve wanted kind of to play for a while, but on the other hand I don’t want to get back too early and get injured again so I kind of had to listen to the trainers and doctors too so I felt like I’m ready like to skate ready there for a while but it’s the big thing is going to be healed up enough,” Ericsson continued. “And they said I’m cleared so hopefully they’re right.”

Wings coach Mike Babcock is happy to get Ericsson back in the lineup, especially against the Blackhawks.

“He’s a good player, big body,” Babcock said. “He can really help out Kronwall. We’re really going to need him here tonight. Obviously, any line with (Patrick) Kane on it is real dangerous, but the other group has three on it that are all dangerous so we’re going to need to be handle those guys and he’ll go a long way in helping do that.”

Jakub Kindl will be a healthy scratch.

Pavel Datsyuk appears to be getting closer to returning from his lower-body injury.

“Good,” Datsyuk said when asked how he felt. “I can skate now. It’s much better. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. (It’s) not walking up, it’s when I skate. I feel better every day. (I) can’t say anything more.

“It’s much better now,” Datsyuk continued. “(I’m) looking forward to skate tomorrow and it’s day-by-day. (I’ve had) too many injures this season, maybe it’s my age. I also have lots to think about my game.”

Datsyuk said he’d be ready for the Olympics.

“For sure, 100 percent,” he said.


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