NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell weighed in today with his punishment for Islanders forward Trevor Gillies after his head-hunting hit on Minnesota’s Cal Clutterbuck. The NHL suspended Gillies for ten games for his hit on Clutterbuck. This comes on the heels of Gillies serving a nine game suspension for his role in the Penguins-Islanders melee.
If you don’t recall, Gillies was playing in his first game back after serving a nine game ban for his part in the Islanders-Penguins fiasco that saw 346 penalty minutes handed out and saw Gillies target the head of Pens forward Eric Tangradi.
Campbell’s reasoning behind the supremely harsh punishment makes a world of sense.
“By targeting his opponent’s head, three shifts into his first game back from a suspension for a very similar action, Mr. Gillies has forfeited his privilege of playing in the League for 10 games,” said NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell. “While it is fortunate there was no injury on the play, there can be no justification for a player delivering a dangerous check to an opponent in this manner”.
It shouldn’t matter whether or not Clutterbuck was injured on the play and thankfully the NHL punished Gillies based on his actions. His seeming lack of awareness that he was playing in his first game since delivering a similarly terrible hit against Pittsburgh also played into this heavily. Gillies was, of course, treated as a repeat offender which helps make the punishment as tough as it is.
Gillies will lose $60,975.60 while he’s out and for a guy that makes the NHL minimum losing that much money for this hit to go along with the over $24,000 he lost for his nine-game ban that’s quite the pain in the wallet. Gillies is a marginal player in the NHL and he’s certainly not sticking around in the NHL for his goal scoring abilities or his role as a defensive forward. He’s a fighter and a crap-stirrer extraordinaire.
Gillies will be eligible to make his return to the ice on March 26 against Philadelphia. The question now for the Islanders and their management is whether or not they’ll actually put him on the ice to play. Any game with Philadelphia is an overly physical one and we’re sure the Isles would like to have his presence on the ice for that game. Of course, there are many that feel that Gillies’ role in the league is pointless and that he’s not a hockey player.
How the Islanders handle his eventual return to action will be worth noting, especially by the league’s front office. Gillies’ reputation is well known throughout the league, especially in the wake of these latest incidences. If the Islanders continue to let him play for them at the NHL level and he goes out tries to injure another player, the league almost has to step in and punish the team for it.
The Isles and GM Garth Snow have three weeks to think about that and with one more date with the Penguins still left on the schedule (April 8 in Long Island) they’d better think long and hard about what their next move will be regarding Gillies and his future in an Islanders uniform.