The NHL has suspended Islanders forward Trevor Gillies for 10 games as a result of his hit on Cal Clutterbuck of the Minnesota Wild in Wednesday night’s 4-1 Islanders win at the Nassau Coliseum.
“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”.
The incident took place at the 2:23 mark of the second period. Clutterbuck hit Isles rookie Justin DiBenedetto from behind and Gillies came in to defend his teammate. Clutterbuck was assessed a minor penalty for boarding on the play. Gillies received a major penalty for hitting Clutterbuck from behind and a game misconduct.
“I just went over and finished my hit,” Gillies told Newsday after the game. “There was no intent at all to injure him [Clutterbuck]. I saw him hit DiBo [DiBenedetto] and I made a hit on him. That was it. I didn’t think it was from behind at all. I hit him from the side.”
Gillies will be eligible to return to action March 26 when the Islanders face the Philadelphia Flyers. As a result of the suspension, he will forfeit $60,975.60 in salary. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund. Gillies is now considered a repeat offender by the NHL.
In 33 NHL games this season, Gillies, 32, has one goal and 124 penalty minutes. He has played 48 career NHL games and has one goal, one assist and 220 penalty minutes.