Trevor Gillies is mean, dirty, and a terrible hockey player. The suspensions are warranted. But banning him from the league? I don’t think so guys.
This is a hard argument to make, because I’m not trying to justify the way Gillies acts on the ice. My point is that unless they Islanders have another tough guy in their system to bring up, then they need to keep him around. Their franchise has been a joke for a long, long time in this league. Since the ’93 playoffs, they’ve been to the postseason 5 times, and won a total of 6 games. They’re an afterthought;they’re irrelevant; they’re nobodies! But they have a young nucleus that’s getting better, and with a few more pieces can be headed in the right direction.
However, when you earn the reputation of a pushover, you won’t get any respect from other teams. They look at the Isles, laugh at them, and push them around. Somebody needs to be there to protect the team, and stand up for the skill players. Again, I don’t think cheap shots to the head are the way to stand up for teammates. So again, the suspensions are warranted. But kicking him out of the league? Come on. Sure, he’s getting a lot of attention now. He’s got no goals, one assist, and 124 PIMs in 33 games.
Jonesy points to those numbers and says the guy is a “meathead.” Come on, he’s not the only one. He’s not the first, he’s not the last. It’s a dying breed, but a breed that exists and will always exist. Most teams in the league have guys whose job is to maintain the toughness quota. He’s taking it a bit too far, but there’s a way to solve this. Get rid of the damn instigator rule. I’m sure some of the guys that Gillies has hit have friends across the league. Plenty of people would be willing to drop the gloves and teach him some manners.
Should we forgive a guy like Matt Cooke because he scores from time to time? Here’s a list of the most penalized guys in the league so far. Most of them are enforcers, and few of them put up numbers. Is there no place for them either because they don’t score? That’s ridiculous. When a guy does something dirty, you fine/suspend him. When he does it again, you fine him more, suspend him longer. But save the lifetime bans for when something is so egregious, so heinous, that it really deserves severe action. McSorley on Brashear, arguably Bertuzzi on Moore and a few others warranted players getting tossed out of the league. Not Gillies though. Not yet, at least. I don’t want to wait until he does do something that will sway me in the other direction. We don’t want to see something like that happen. The league should do whatever it takes to make him understand what is acceptable and what is not.
For now, however, Gillies has done something good. Between him and Zenon Konopka, the Islanders now have a tougher reputation. Teams won’t take liberties with the young players. Guys will know that there’s a price to pay for picking on the Isles youth movement. The Broad Street Bullies, the Big Bad Bruins and probably quite a few teams during the Original Six era won through using intimidation to make room for skill players. This is nothing new, and I kind of like it. It’s always good to have a few players and teams to hate.
So while I don’t condone the way Trevor Gillies does things, I like what he’s trying to do and I don’t believe he needs to be banished by the league. Punish him, get him to clean up a bit, learn the tough guy code, and he’ll be fine.
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Tags: Big Bad Bruins Boston Bruins Broad Street Bullies Cheap Shot Dirty Play Donald Brashear Enforcer Marty Mcsorley New York Islanders Philadelphia Flyers Steve Moore Todd Bertuzzi Trevor Gillies Zenon Konopka