Stars’ Perry on Winter Classic ejection: ‘It was unintentional’

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(UPDATE: Perry will have a Friday DoPS hearing.)

DALLAS — Corey Perry repeatedly described his elbow to the head of Ryan Ellis that got him ejected from the 2020 Winter Classic as “unfortunate” and “unintentional.”

The Stars forward played all of 38 seconds before the hit put him out of the game 2:44 into the first period. The Predators defenseman did not return to the game. Perry was assessed an elbowing major and a game misconduct.

“It was an awkward play,” Perry said after the Stars’ 4-2 win. “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. 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. This is a big event. I’m sure he had family in here. I had some family here. It’s unfortunate. I just hope he’s OK.”

The hit will be reviewed by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to determine if supplemental discipline is necessary. As James noted earlier, a suspension of at least three games would take Perry out of the Stars’ lineup ahead of their visit next week to Anaheim, where he played 14 seasons.

“It’s unfortunate. It’s just one of those things that happen in the course of a game,” said Stars head coach Rick Bowness. “Corey Perry’s a great competitor and is a wonderful, wonderful player. Sometimes in hockey when you go to make a hit you get into some unfortunate situations and that’s all I can see with that. Corey Perry would never try to hurt anyone. He would play hard, but intentional? No, that’s an unfortunate hit. That’s all.”

Perry said there were a lot of things running through his head as he watched the remainder of the game. Frustration at not being able to take part in the Stars’ comeback was one of those things on his mind. He also said he plans to reach out Ellis, who he knows personally having played with him at the 2016 World Championships with Team Canada.

“Hopefully it’s not too long,” said Predators head coach Peter Laviolette of Ellis’ status, “but he got banged up pretty good.”

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.