Nashville, Tenn. (WKRN)- It didn’t take the local media long to realize that Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis was paired up with Roman Josi at Thursday’s morning practice, and that is great news.
Ellis has been out since the Winter Classic on January 1st, that is where he suffered a concussion after Dallas Stars forward Corey Perry elbowed him in the head.
“To be honest it was a hockey play and obviously I’d like to catch him with a nice open ice hit as I would with anyone on any other team. It was a hockey play, and I’m not bitter it just sucks not playing,” said Ryan Ellis.
Ellis has been practicing with his team for over a week now, but being paired up with defensive teammate, Josi is a clear sign that he could play as early as Friday in Chicago.
“We wanted to push him today and put him in a D-pair and put him it situations he could possibly play in. We gave him a good look on the power play and had some battle drills in there and so we’ll see how he responds tomorrow,” said Predators head coach John Hynes.
Ellis has been a steady presence for the Predators on defense in the past few years, playing in all situations and getting a significant amount of ice time. It’s been a long road to recovery, but he’s starting to feel like himself again.
“It was a long road and I haven’t been down one like that, so it’s nice be feeling like myself. It’s not like a typical injury, it’s one day good and one day bad, you never know what the next one brings. It’s been a process and I’m glad to be feeling a bit better,” added Ellis.
And Ellis making possible return this weekend has his teammates smiling, as they describe him as as a leader, who has a major presence on the ice.
Centerman Ryan Johansen said, “It’s huge, huge. Even just having him back on the ice practicing he brings so much to to our team. He is a huge presence everyday for our group and a big time difference maker in the games.”
This news is encouraging, especially for Captain Roman Josi, who has spent a significant amount of time paired up with Ellis during games.
“He’s such a big part of this group and up until his injury he played in every game of the season. For me, I’ve played with him for a long time so I’m definitely very happy to have him back and I think the whole team is,” added defenseman Roman Josi.
John Hynes said he will evaluate Ellis after Thursday’s practice and will said he’ll make a decision on Friday, meaning Ellis could possibly be in the Predators lineup when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks or when the Preds host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.