DALLAS -- Ryan Ellis sustained an upper-body injury in the Nashville Predators' 4-2 loss against the Dallas Stars in the 2020 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Cotton Bowl Stadium on Wednesday.
The 28-year-old defenseman was injured when he was elbowed in the head by Stars forward Corey Perry at 2:44 of the first period. Perry received a five-minute major for elbowing and a game misconduct.
"Hopefully it's not too long, but he got banged up pretty good," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said when asked for an update on Ellis' condition.
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Ellis remained on the ice before being helped to his feet by Predators forwards Viktor Arvidsson and Austin Watson. He walked under his own power down the path toward the tunnel that leads to the locker room but was eventually picked up by a cart to take him the rest of the way.
"It's difficult. Everybody has to deal with injuries, but we're in a game like this and he's one of the guys that we count on for 26 minutes on the back end," Laviolette said. "He's such an important part of our team and he's having such a good year on the ice. Off the ice, he's a leader. You lose a piece like that, it's difficult."
Ellis has 28 points (six goals, 22 assists) in 39 games this season and is averaging 22:23 of ice time. He played at least 26 minutes in four of the Predators' previous five games.
"He's one of our best players. A guy that gives an incredible amount to this team, from a work standpoint, from a production standpoint, and he misses an entire Winter Classic," Watson said. "And you know it stinks for [Perry] too, because he doesn't get to play in the game because something like that dictates that."
Perry, who will have a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety on Friday, was apologetic after the game.
"It was unfortunate," the 34-year-old said. "I've played with Ryan before and I know him personally. It's very unintentional. I didn't mean to hurt him and I hope he's OK. This is a big event. I'm sure he had family in here and I definitely had family here. It's tough. I just hope he's OK.
"There's a lot of things going through my head. It's frustrating. I wanted to be out there."
NHL.com independent correspondent Josh Clark contributed to this report