Originally posted on Inside Smashville  |  Last updated 12/26/11

For the last three years, Ryan Ellis started the World Juniors tournament on Boxing Day, winning one gold and two silver medals for Team Canada. This year, his first as a professional hockey player too old for the tournament, Ellis made his NHL debut for the Nashville Predators on December 26th.

Ryan Ellis, in the lefthand corner at the bottom of the picture, made his NHL regular season debut Monday night

“I was overjoyed. I was pretty happy. I think anyone coming up to play their first game is pretty excited. I was obviously a bit nervous, knowing they were playing the Red Wings. I was just excited,” Ellis said about what he was feeling when he found out he was called up to Nashville.

The rookie defenseman barely made it to the rink with only an hour to spare before game time.

“I found out this morning around 11 o’clock. We just finished our morning skate for Milwaukee. They called me into the office and told me I was going up. Instead of taking a nap it was jump on a plane and hurry off to Nashville,” Ellis said after Nashville’s 4-1 loss to Detroit.

Without much preparation, Ellis played a solid 18:13 in the NHL debut, called up to Nashville due to an injury sustained by Captain Shea Weber.  Weber is out with an upper-body injury. While there has been no indication that the injury is a concussion, Weber took a hit to the head from Dallas defenseman Mark Fistric.

A typical game day would include a morning skate, nap and pre-game meal. Ellis needed to change things around.

“Usually I’m taking a nap and I’m here at the rink for a 7 p.m. game at 4:15 p.m. It was a lot different, but there are things you have to adjust to and adversity you need to overcome. I got on the plane and tried to nap the best I could. Once I got here I just got as many coffees in me as I could,” he said.

Ellis did have a chance to meet with the coaches to talk about their game plan.

“I had a little meeting to go over what Detroit does, how they play and what their systems are. It was just to get caught up quick and then once you are out there just to read and react.”

Ellis was paired with Jack Hillen for most of the game, but played with Ryan Suter on the power play. The two-time Memorial Cup champion played 5:31 on the man advantage for Nashville.

“I was nervous. They are a pretty good team with a lot of superstars. When you see them in the lineup you are sort of shell shocked, but it was a lot of fun,” Ellis said about his first game, adding, “The guys made it really easy on me they talked me through a lot of plays and different situations. It made my game a lot easier.”

Considered an offensive defenseman at the junior level of the Canadian Hockey League in junior, Ellis is known for being able to distribute the puck as a power play quarterback. Against Detroit, Ellis managed 3 shots on goal, had another two attempts blocked and missed another shot on goal.

Listed at 5’10, 179 pounds, Ellis knows he needs to be tough to make it in the NHL. On Monday night, Ellis was credited with 2 hits as well as 2 blocked shots.

When asked what he learnt in his debut, Ellis said it is all about keeping things simple.  ”Just the pace of the game and how simple you have to make the game. We have a good team here. If we can just move the puck, you can rely on other guys to make the plays. Hopefully, you can get the puck back and jump into holes and stuff like that. The main thing is to simplify the game,” Ellis said.

While the Ellis debut was much anticipated in Smashville, the Predators fell behind and were not able to capitalize on their chances.

The Red Wings opened scoring when Valtteri Filppula scored at 10:57 into the first period. It was the only goal of the opening frame.

During the second period, Detroit scored twice in a 13-seconds span. Pavel Datsyuk scored on a wraparound. Dan Cleary made it 3-0 just 13 seconds later when his wrist shot beat Rinne to his glove side.

Filppula added his second tally of the game at 5:22 into the third period.

Jon Blum got on the board for Nashville with only 2:12 remaining to end Jimmy Howard’s shutout.

Howard leads the NHL in wins with 21 on the season.  Pekka Rinne drops to 16-10-4.

The Predators host Minnesota on Wednesday night. Monday, the Wild lost to the Colorado Avalanche and are losers of four straight contests.

 

 

 

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

U.S. Senator “appalled” by Bettman’s stance on concussions

Team USA’s Opening Ceremony uniforms look a little treasonous

Lawyer who reps concussion lawsuit wants to speak with Bettman

Former NFL LB Armstrong, wife reportedly killed by 16-year-old son

Tyler Eifert says he will never play in the Pro Bowl again

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Wade says Riley did not push him out of Miami

Nationals among multiple teams inquiring on Mark Melancon

McClain does not show up for Cowboys’ training camp

Andre Johnson agrees to two-year deal with Titans

Is it time to start taking West Ham seriously?

Storyline from 'Ballers' plays out in Cowboys preseason camp

Texas A&M creates a very sexist version of their fight song for women

Brown, Marshall are apparently serious about their car bet

Lacy, Starks could split carries to start season

Cyborg Santos post-surgery skull photos are eerie

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Hockey team unveils Clinton, Trump bobbleheads

Bennett compares chemistry with Pats QBs to his love life

Crowell still making amends for controversial Instagram post

Report: LeBron urged Justin Bieber not to perform at RNC

Luck refutes Matt Hasselbeck’s assertion he never showers

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker