-- During a Jan. 14 game against Philadelphia, Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds
, all 6-foot-2 and 183 pounds of him, was barreling down the left wing with the puck as he neared the faceoff circle in the Nashville Predators
' zone and began to cut in toward the goal.
"Everybody talks about his size, but he just reads the game really well, so he doesn't put himself in bad positions. He puts himself in good positions so he's not on the back side of a big guy."
-- Shea Weber
Predators rookie defenseman Ryan Ellis
took the correct angle and moved directly into Simmonds' path. At that point, Ellis stopped and sort of bent over, and Simmonds toppled to the ice like a man falling off a building with a spectacular crash.
It was a textbook open-ice hip check by the 5-foot-10, 21-year-old player suiting up for just the eighth time in his NHL career. To this point in his young career, Ellis has been that -- textbook -- and if his first 12 games are any indication, that trend would appear likely to continue.
Ellis has 6 points and a plus-4 rating in his first dozen NHL games heading into Monday's game against the Blue Jackets.
"The guys in pro, even in the American league, are a lot bigger than in junior," Weber said of Ellis' transition to the NHL after 17 points in only 26 games this season with AHL Milwaukee. "Obviously, the way he's played, the amount of points he's got down in the American league, you saw the transition wasn't too hard on him and hasn't been thus far in the NHL."