DETROIT — Jonathan Ericsson has long been a punching bag for Red Wings fans.
Back in Detroit after a stint with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Ericsson recapped the emotional toll his Griffins days had on his family for the last month.
"I remember just a few days before I got called up, my daughter was very sad. She asked me if I was gonna be there when she woke up in the morning," he said.
Jonathan Ericsson has long been a punching bag for Red Wings fans, but this is some real, emotional stuff.— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) November 19, 2019
"My daughter was very sad," Ericsson said. He woke up at 5 a.m. to commute to Grand Rapids. "She said, 'I like Red Wings better because daddy's home more.'" pic.twitter.com/vIwyqm4wUd
Ericsson woke up at 5 a.m. to commute to Grand Rapids. His daughter, Liv, quickly got sad when Ericsson told her he wouldn't be home for breakfast.
The Griffins offered a hotel, but he felt it was more important to be with his family.
"Having to drive between GR and Detroit every morning basically, and after practice, I tried to be home as much as I could," he said.
Ericsson didn't play in the preseason, and began the season on the injured list. The Red Wings waived the 35-year-old veteran defenseman and sent him to play with the Griffins.
He spoke with general manager Steve Yzerman, but didn't know what to expect.
"He said I can’t promise anything, but it’s kind of up to me, too, to go down there and be a pro about it and try to work myself back up here," Ericsson added.
He had to explain to his family about the process of being a member of the Red Wings, but his games would be in AHL rinks.
His daughter didn't like that, either. She told him he was gone too much.
"She said, 'I like Red Wings better because daddy's home more.'"
Ericsson played 10 games with the Griffins. Jeff Blashill said there wasn't much of a plan, and the goal was simply to get Ericsson in game action.
“The approach he took was a great example of how you should approach it. He went down there and worked his butt off and played good hockey. He was a team guy and wasn’t pouting or any of that stuff," Blashill said.