The Department of Player Safety has been busy today. Corey Perry has been given a five-game suspension for his elbow on Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis during the Winter Classic. As the accompanying video explains:
It is important to note that while we acknowledge Perry’s argument that he did not intend to elbow Ellis in the head, he is in control of this hit at all times and solely responsible for the end result. While Ellis is releasing a shot, he does not move sharply or suddenly in an unexpected that contributes to the end result of this hit. Perry acknowledges that he initially takes an angle of approach to attempt to make a play on the puck, causing him to cut in front of Ellis’ body. Now unable to make any meaningful body contact, Perry follows through with his elbow, driving it into Ellis’ head.
Not only did Ellis suffer a serious injury on the play—he left the game and has been placed on injured reserve today—but Perry also has another factor working against him. Even though he has played in more than 1,000 games, he has two previous suspensions on his record which only make this punishment more severe.
The Dallas Stars will be without Perry for almost two weeks, as the next game he is eligible for will be Thursday, January 16th at the Buffalo Sabres. Of note, that means he will miss the Stars’ first trip to Anaheim to take on the Ducks, where he played the first 988 games of his NHL career.