It took the Islanders' goon all of 23 and a half minutes before he acted up again, although for a guy with as worthless an NHL role as Gillies, that's only about two minutes of actual ice time.
After Cal Clutterbuck of the Wild took a boarding penalty early in the second period for a borderline hit on Justin DiBenedetto, Gillies came up from behind and crushed Gillies into the boards. It was worlds worse than anything Clutterbuck did to DiBenedetto (although let's not pretend that Clutterbuck is a saint) and it was completely unacceptable.
Clutterbuck was fine, thankfully, but Gillies was ejected from the game after being handed a five-minute major for checking from behind. On Versus during intermission of the Penguins-Maple Leafs game, analysts Keith Jones and Mike Milbury didn't hold back their feelings on Gillies -- to say the least.
Well, one thing's for sure, [studio host] Bill [Patrick]. He's a slow learner, because there's no question; there's over 700 players in the National Hockey League and there's one meat head. That's Trevor Gillies. He just continues to do the wrong thing on the ice.
The message was sent with the nine-game suspension for what he did against the Pittsburgh Penguins -- another hit to the head. ... Then he stood there in the door way and continued to mock the player he hit.
And tonight, he's back at it again.
It's hard. This is hard. I love guys that play tough hockey but this is a guy that doesn't get it. This is a guy that crosses the line; that doesn't know what's appropriate and what's inappropriate in a hockey game. And that's a dangerous, dangerous thing.
When you have guys like that, it's not just to win a hockey game. It's to get rid of some personal demons that he has in his own background. It becomes scary. The league has to step in here. And the Islanders' general manager (full disclosure: Milbury was Isles' GM once upon a time) and the Islanders' coach and the Islanders' owner have to figure this out.
They've embarrassed themselves here one time too many. Okay, you have an incident. That happens from time to time. But Garth Snow should be embarrassed for his team and so should Jack Capuano. They happen to be friends of mine. I hope they get it, and if they don't get it, I hope the league gives it to them.
Back to Jones:
The guy plays two minutes in a night. He's not out there to score goals. He's there to be a physical force. He's there to drop his gloves and protect his teammates. The reaction tonight was coming to what he would consider the aid of a teammate after seeing the hit, but it's another high hit to the head of Cal Clutterbuck, a guy who's a physical player that throws his weight around.
That is a dumb play by Trevor Gillies, and you're absolutely right Mike. The league will step in, there's no question about that. Gillies played what -- he stood around this game for 20 minutes---
And Milbury again. This is dialogue, if you couldn't tell.
This guy is not a hockey player. Get him out of the league as soon as you can. When he does that, he's not trying to play hockey. He's making a personal statement.
For me, it's all about what Jones said a few times. The guy plays two minutes a night. He does not serve a purpose in the NHL. There's a myth out there that players like Trevor Gillies, for some reason, deter violence from happening in the game. Their sheer presence on the bench -- because that's where they spend about 58 minutes of the game -- is enough to protect a star player from a dirty hit.
This is a myth. The only thing Trevor Gillies brings to the game is more unfortunate, unnecessary violence like this. It's clear that a hefty suspension doesn't make a difference to him, either, as evidenced by his recent nine-game sit down. Milbury and Jones are right. The Islanders need to step up, as does the NHL, in making sure this doesn't happen again.
It's clear that the only way to do that is to make sure Gillies doesn't have the opportunity again.