Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson clearly is seeing the bigger picture as he makes his return to the ice versus the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday.
Sidelined for five games with a shoulder injury, Ericsson was back at practice on Sunday and patiently waited for the doctors and medical staff to give him the go-ahead. Ericsson participated in the morning skate on Thursday before coach Jeff Blashill confirmed that the 31-year-old Swede would return to the lineup.
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"I could have probably played sooner, but it's a matter of being Game 35, 36, so on. The doctors and staff took the decision; they've been through this way more times than I have so they know better than me. Now I feel ready, I shouldn't get put back in my recovery by playing tonight. That's my thought and it seems to be their thought as well."
Blashill told the team's website that Ericsson would be paired with fellow defenseman Danny DeKeyser while forward Jakub Kindl would sit out versus the Penguins.
A ninth-round pick of the 2002 draft, Ericsson has collected one goal and four assists in 32 games this season.