Perry defends head shot that took Ryan Ellis out of Winter Classic

The Stars forward defends himself after being called in to a meeting with NHL Player Safety.

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In case you missed it yesterday, Dallas Stars forward Corey Perry was assessed a game misconduct penalty for elbowing after delivering a high head shot to Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis.

Here’s the hit in question:

Yikes… that’s ugly. 

Perry’s right elbow makes clear contact with Ellis’ chin. Ugly stuff. 

As expected, Ellis left the game with a suspected concussion and did not return. The Stars managed an unlikely comeback and ended up winning the 2020 Winter Classic 4-2.

After the game though and before it was announced that Perry would be summoned by NHL Player Safety to receive supplemental discipline, Perry himself defended his actions to the media.

“I’ve played with Ryan before. I know him personally. It’s very unintentional. I didn’t mean to hurt him. I hope he’s OK,” Perry said to ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski. 

“It was an awkward play. I reached up to try and deflect the puck. It’s unfortunate,” Perry said.

Stars head coach Rick Bowness echoed Perry’s sentiments. 

“It’s unfortunate. It’s one of those things that happens during the course of a game. Corey Perry is a great competitor. A wonderful, wonderful player. Sometimes in hockey when you go to make a hit, you get into some unfortunate situations,” Bowness said. “Corey Perry would never try to hurt anyone. He would play hard, but intention? No.”

The Preds aren’t so sure though…

“Yeah, that was a bad hit,” said Preds captain Roman Josi. “The kind of hit that you’re trying to get out of the game. He’s shooting the puck, and he gets him right in the head. I thought it was a really bad hit.”

The NHL is expected to officially rule on Perry’s supplemental discipline tomorrow afternoon. Stay tuned.