Stop me if you’ve heard this before: during a blowout game in the American Hockey League stupidity occurred.
On Friday, the Adirondack Flames were in the midst of being handed a 6-1 loss when tough guy Trevor Gillies lost it on Rochester Americans rookie William Carrier.
For his efforts, Gillies, who has picked up 261 penalty minutes in 57 NHL games with the Anaheim Ducks and New York Islanders, was handed the book.
He received two minutes for instigating, five minutes for fighting, a game misconduct for instigating a fight in the final five minutes of the game and a game misconduct for being the aggressor – a total of 27 minutes.
Gillies will be automatically suspended for the Flames game Saturday for picking up the instigator a final five minutes of a game.
The Islanders and Penguins always get along so well when they come together on the ice. Their last three meetings last season saw all hell break loose featuring such hits as Rick DiPietro getting knocked out by Brent Johnson in their February 3 game, a full-scale on-ice riot breaking out just over a week later that led to Pens owner Mario Lemieux shaming the league for not taking stronger action against the Isles, and an April 8 affair that saw the teams renew their hate one last time.
If you needed a full-scale visual reminder of how things happened last year, Kevin Schultz at Islanders Point Blank has you covered there.
While some of the parties involved in last season’s shenanigans are still around (Trevor Gillies, Blake Comeau, Brent Johnson) things don’t figure to get so hairy this time around. Then again, with the front end of a home-and-home series kicking off tonight on Long Island, you never can be too sure.
The Isles head into things mostly healthy but finding their way around still. Pittsburgh continues to be banged up and with Zbynek Michalek now out for 4-6 weeks with a broken finger, the tough-as-nails version of the Penguins is what the Isles will see. While the Isles don’t lack in toughness, they’ll need to deal with the Penguins’ aggressive style and not give them chances on the power play.
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, would like to get through these games without another injury and, likely, without another sideshow developing at their expense. It’s not quite a powder keg situation, but old hate doesn’t take much to get reignited.
NHL player safety guru and disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan has more than done his part to show off how he’s going to be erring on the side of caution and punishing bad hits with stiff suspensions.
While the suspensions have been rough in some cases and some fans are worrying that the physicality of the game is going to be taken away, Shanahan shows off today how that’s both not the case and how players are learning quickly how to not play like fools. Shanahan released a video today showing off how players are making sure to not blast a player from behind when they’re prone as well as some of the great, legal hits through the preseason.
Even more amazing is the fact that a pair of tough guys in Islanders forward Trevor Gillies and Philadelphia forward Zac Rinaldo show you the right way to deliver a hit. Don’t get too huffy about that Isles and Flyers fans, Kris Letang is a veritable superstar in this one showing the right way to play hockey both ways.