Predators' Ryan Ellis leaves game after dangerous hit to the head by Stars' Corey Perry

Thomas Williams
Hockey writer
Nashville Predators defenceman Ryan Ellis had to be helped off the ice after Dallas Stars forward Corey Perry targets his head. (NBC Sports)

Corey Perry continues to do Corey Perry things.

In the opening minutes of the 2020 Winter Classic on Wednesday, the Dallas Stars forward elbowed Nashville Predators defenceman Ryan Ellis in the head.

Ellis left the game and did not return, after getting helped off the ice by teammates and staff.

On the play, Perry received a game misconduct for elbowing, making history as the first of its kind in the 12-game NHL Winter Classic history. Before Wednesday’s elbowing incident, the only misconduct during an outdoor game was when Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Michal Rozsival was called for interference during the 2016 Stadium Series in Minnesota.

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The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced later in the day that Perry will have a hearing on Friday for the incident.

“It was an awkward play,” Perry said after Dallas’ 4-2 win, according to Matthew DeFranks of Dallas Morning News. “I went to the bench to get a stick and came back. I reached out to try to deflect the puck or whatever. It was unfortunate... It’s very unintentional. I didn’t mean to hurt him. I hope he’s OK...”

If Ellis is out for a significant amount of time, it would be a massive blow to the Predators’ blue line. The 28-year-old is having a career year — on pace for a 60-point season, trumping his previous career-high 41 points earned just last year.

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