Trevor's In Trouble: Gillies Faces Another Likely Suspension
Last night the New York Islanders started a five-game home stand against the Minnesota Wild. Looking to continue to play the role of the spoiler, the game ended with the Isles coming away with a decisive 4-1 victory that displayed stellar goaltending from Al Montoya, and a pretty complete game from those dressed in orange and blue for a full sixty minutes. But there was one problem with the game that could not go unnoticed by anyone.
Trevor Gillies was making his return to the line-up after serving a nine-game suspension for his acts in the Pittsburgh game about two weeks ago. For those of you that may have forgotten, Gillies hit Eric Tangradi up high and attempted to fight him while he was unable to retaliate since he was hurt from the initial contact. After being shoved down into the runway, Gillies continued to bark at Tangradi as he laid on the ice being attended to by the Penguins' medical trainer.
His return didn't last very long. Just a little over twenty-two minutes into last night's game, Cal Clutterbuck hit rookie Justin DiBenedetto. His hit appeared to be from behind, but Gillies does not receive any excuses regardless of that fact. Here is a YouTube clip via user Fel0096:
Gillies received a five-minute major for checking from behind in addition to a game misconduct that ejected him from the rest of the game.
Gillies is the type of player that only dresses on the team's fourth line and plays not much more than two minutes a night. He's a physical force who goes out to protect his teammates and plays a character role that is important on any team. When seeing him in the locker room after the games, you can tell he cares about his teammates and wants to do everything he can to contribute in any way possible.
However, there is a fine line in what is acceptable and what is not. Clutterbuck should have met with an Islander skater after his hit on DiBenedetto. The team has kept a mantra of sticking up for one another over the past few weeks; an important step in building a team up from a bunch of kids into a single unit. But you cannot have players go out on the ice issuing the same offense in order to get a message across.
This is where a player like Zenon Konopka is very important. Konopka throws his body for the big hit; he's one of the top face-off leaders in the NHL; he drops the gloves against any opponent and will stuck up for his team on and off the ice, whether it be to a player or the media; he can be an effective penalty killer. That's not a bad list of intangibles for a guy who is second in the NHL in fights. With all due respect to Trevor Gillies, you simply cannot say the same for him.
The man with the mustache needs to find a way to get his head in the same place as his heart. With the NHL cracking down on head shots and doing everything they can to minimize injuries and dangerous plays, Gillies' career may end up depending on it.
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