Wings’ Ericsson back on ice before Sochi

Jonathan Ericsson, Paul Stastny

DETROIT (WOOD) — Jonathan Ericsson of the Detroit Red Wings is 15 days away from his first Olympics, where he will represent Sweden.

Ericsson picked up the nickname “Big Rig” not long after he joined  the Grand Rapids Griffins in 2006. At 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, it’s well-deserved.

Ericsson spent three years in Grand Rapids after being the last player selected in the 2002 NHL draft — he was 291st overall. He was converted from a forward to a defenseman, where he blossomed with the Griffins.

Late in the 2009 season, he joined the Red Wings full time and is now a top-two defenseman in Detroit.

Big Rig was back on the ice for the first time in four weeks Wednesday night when the Wings took on the Chicago Blackhawks at Joe Louis Arena. He missed 10 games after sustaining broken ribs during a Dec. 23 game.

Though he was focused on the Blackhawks game during Wednesday morning team skate, he is looking forward to his first Olympics.

Ericsson was cut from the Swedish team before the 2010 Vancouver games. Now, he’ll get his chance in Russia.

And he’ll play alongside his older brother Jimmie, who is a star in the Swedish Elite League. It will be the first time the two brothers have ever played together competitively.

Ericsson said he can’t wait to get to Sochi and play for his country and with his brother.

Ten Red Wings are competing in this Olympics: Ericsson, along with Daniel Alfredsson, Johan Franzen, Jonas Gustavsson, Niklas Kronwall and Henrik Zetterberg will play for Sweden. Jimmy Howard will play for the U.S., Pavel Datsyuk will play for Russia, and Tomas Tatar will play with Grand Rapids Griffin Tomas Jurco for Slovakia.

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