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Ericsson will be a game-time decision in Columbus

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings

Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (shoulder) will be a game-decision before tonight's game at Columbus. (Photo by Getty Images)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Red Wings will find out later today if Jonathan Ericsson will be able to play against the Blue Jackets tonight at Nationwide Arena.

The Wings’ 6-foot-4 defenseman injured a shoulder during Sunday’s practice when he fell hard into the boards after accidently stepping on a puck as he finished a skating drill.

“I guess it's a game-time decision,” Ericsson said. “I don't know how much I'm supposed to say. It just hurts.”

Coach Mike Babcock fully expects that Ericsson will be ready and play on the Wings’ top defensive pairing with his partner Niklas Kronwall. But if Ericsson can’t go, Babcock said the plan is to have 22-year-old Brian Lashoff make his NHL debut.

Lashoff is on his way from Grand Rapids to Columbus this afternoon and will be here in time for the game, should he be needed in the lineup. In order to make room for Lashoff, the Wings have placed Jakub Kindl (groin) on injured reserve.

This season with the Red Wings’ AHL-affiliate in Grand Rapids, Lashoff has produced two goals, four assists and a plus-4 rating in 36 games.

Lashoff was called up to compete in the Red Wings’ week-long training camp where he was mainly paired with Jakub Kindl, before the team’s seventh defenseman suffered a groin injury at mid-week.

As for Ericsson, he said the shoulder felt better than it did Sunday evening, however, it’s “Not as good as I hoped. We'll see, I'm going to have to wait until later today.”

The season has just begun and already the Wings have five players injured or ill. Center Darren Helm (back) remains on IR – though he hopes to be back for Friday’s game against Minnesota – forward Todd Bertuzzi (mononucleosis) and Jan Mursak (collarbone) are out indefinitely, and Kindl and Jonas Gustavsson (groin) are out for the next two games.

The good news is that forward Patrick Eaves (post-concussion syndrome), who last played on Nov. 26, 2011 will face Columbus, and skate on the fourth line with center Cory Emmerton and forward Jordin Tootoo.

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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