For the rest of the teams the Islanders have to play this year, consider this your warning: Trevor Gillies is ready to return from his 10-game suspension.
The Islanders enforcer will be eligible to play on Saturday night after serving his 10-game ban for hitting Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck in the head. Clutterbuck ended up missing a handful of games with an upper body injury after showing signs of concussion effects. As you might remember, Gillies connected with Clutterbuck in his first game back after serving a nine game suspension for his part in the on-ice brawl between the Islanders and Penguins back in February.
While Gillies is available, should the Islanders even suit him up? After all, his job in the league is to fight and generally blur the lines between clean play and outright dirty play. In Gillies’ last two games, he’s crossed that line in very obvious ways and created more problems for the Islanders than their team deserves.
The Isles have played well in the second half of the year and have done so without Gillies providing a circus-like atmosphere on the ice with his antics. With under ten games to go in the season and one big rematch with Pittsburgh looming in April, perhaps Isles coach Jack Capuano will see that his team doesn’t need to have Gillies and his brand of play out there. We’re not counting on that occurring however since Capuano knows Gillies well from their days in the AHL with Capuano the head coach at Bridgeport for a time.
With the way Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke has been shunned from NHL society for his reckless head shots, a guy who brings less to the game the way Gillies does has an even shorter leash. Anything else he does could see him earning a record punishment from the league and seeing him suit up at all the rest of the way will keep us watching the Isles for all the wrong reasons.