When the Wings and Penguins kick off the Stanley Cup Finals tonight in at Joe Louis Arena, Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson is going to feel like a part of him is gone. And he’d be right, since he had his appendix removed in emergency surgery on Wednesday. And, since that’s an invasive surgery that involves some recovery time, his doctors surely have told him that he’ll miss the series, right?
Not exactly. In fact, Wings coach Mike Babcock said yesterday that Ericsson would be ready to go tonight. After all, he’s had two full days to recover from the invasive, organ-shifting procedure. Who wouldn’t be ready to play NHL hockey by now? Ericsson’s reply to Babcock’s assurance? Uh, we’ll see about that.
And speaking of the game tonight, it appears that good seats are readily available for much less than they would’ve run you last year.
Ericsson didn’t feel well enough to skate yesterday, and told MLIVE he’s a bit surprised that his coach declared him “in” for Game 1 while Pavel Datsyuk is still listed as doubtful because his foot hurts:
“Yesterday I didn’t feel good at all, very, very sore,” Ericsson said. “I felt sick, too, as soon as I started walking around, really sick to my stomach, wanted to kind of puke. Didn’t really eat anything the first 24 hours. Now it feels a lot better than yesterday.
The FREE PRESS said today that Ericsson is a game-time decision, based on whether or not he can deal with the pain. I guess there really isn’t any danger of complications from the surgery itself since the appendix is gone.
As we speak, the Penguins are looking up where the incisions go in an appendectomy so they know where to jab Ericsson with the butt end of their sticks tonight.
Meanwhile, the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE says that tickets aren’t nearly as hard to come by at the Joe tonight than usual, partly because 1,900 Wings season ticket holders did not renew for the playoffs. Tix will still run you an average of $315 for tonight, but that’s down over $100 from last year, according to StubHub. And the average ticket in Pittsburgh is sitting at $619, down from $758 last year.
Detroit, reeling from all kinds of economic problems, is actually encouraging people to come from Pittsburgh. There might be a lot more visiting fans in the stands tonight and tomorrow than you’ve ever seen in Detroit before. And the visitors’ bureau is thrilled!
We’ve hosted a string of marquee events since 2004 [when the Pistons were NBA champs], all very visible world-class sporting events, both amateur and pros,” said Renee Monforton, director of communications of the visitors bureau. “It’s absolutely a great thing for us because obviously we’re in a down economy locally, and it’s a real shot in the arm. It’s a chance for us to show off our hospitality and that we’re alive and well. Despite issues with the auto industry, we have other attractions and things to offer, including a brand new riverfront and three new casinos.”
Congratulations, Wings fans. Your city is more excited about pimping out casinos to people from Pittsburgh than in supporting your team.