Tuesday, January 3, 2012
On December 26, the Nashville Predators recalled defenseman Ryan Ellis from Milwaukee due to the injury to superstar captain Shea Weber. Since then, Ellis has fit in nicely with the Predators. He's averaging 17:11 of ice time per game, and has really looked good on the power play even though he has yet to register a point. His power play skills have even drawn praise from the coach of Nashville's biggest rival.
"(Ellis) is as good as there is in hockey on the power play. He's no slouch. He doesn't have the bomb that Weber has, but he has all of those other things. He's very deceptive, he can really see, he's got ice water in his veins and he's a great player. He's going to be a dominant power play guy," said Detroit Red Wings Head Coach Mike Babcock after Nashville's 4-1 loss to Detroit on December 26.
After practice on Tuesday, Hockey Night in Nashville caught up with Ellis on his birthday for a brief conversation. Here's what he had to say:
Hockey Night in Nashville: First off, Happy Birthday. Anything special planned?
Ryan Ellis: Thank you. No, not really. My dad is in town so I'll probably just grab dinner with him and celebrate quietly.
HNIN: You started the season in Milwaukee. How do you think that has helped your development?
Ellis: Well I think just kind of getting used to the speed and the size of the guys. It's different from junior hockey, and it's kind of allowed me to transition nicely.
HNIN: What was your "Welcome to the NHL" moment?
Ellis: Probably in our training camp this year when I tried to step up on Ovechkin and he dropped me. It was kind of one of those things.
HNIN: What's the biggest thing you've learned since being in Nashville the past week?
Ellis: I just think the pace and the attitude that you have to bring to the rink every day. You learn about it quick, and I think everyone is here to work hard and practice hard every day.
(Photo Credit: Leanne Charles)