Trevor Gillies of the New York Islanders will face Colin Campbell and the NHL's discipline board Friday afternoon in Toronto. The in-person hearing usually indicates a lengthy suspension, but there are certainly questions as Gillies makes the flight from New York to YYZ.
The incident in question today is Gillies' hit on Cal Clutterbuck of the Minnesota Wild. In retaliation for Clutterbuck's hit on Justin DiBenedetto, Gillies came in and shoved his forearm into the head of the Wild forward.
As we know, the NHL doesn't typically legislate on intent. It's all about the outcome of the thing, and Clutterbuck, while dazed initially, did stay in the game. In fact, he was ejected himself for a hit later in the game.
The kicker, of course, is that Gillies was in his first game back following a nine-game suspension for a similar hit on Eric Tangradi. Tangradi was injured pretty severely on that play and he's yet to return to the lineup.
Chris Botta had a fantastic look at this whole process of flying to Toronto for a hearing. As a member of the PR department for the Islanders back in 2007, he accompanied Chris Simon on one of these trips, and the general feeling from Simon was that the entire process is pointless. The NHL execs in the room know the suspension they're handing down before the player even walks into the room.
Botta's main argument against that was that the face-to-face meeting is an important aspect in the disciplinary process. I agree with that. For a guy like Trevor Gillies, who clearly has trouble learning what's right from wrong, it might help to sit in a stuffy conference room.
The pleading of his case won't matter much, if at all, but will Gillies be more likely to repent when the verdict is coming down from a guy across the table instead of just some voice on the other end of the phone?