NHL Obsessing Over Trevor Gillies, Ignoring Larger Picture

Upon his return to the lineup following a nine game suspension, one might assume that Trevor Gillies would be on his best behavior.

Surely he would not even think of repeating what he did to Pittsburgh Penguins forward Eric Tangradi, and certainly not in his first game back.

Of course, knowing now what actually transpired just 22 minutes into that game, such an assumption could not have been less accurate.

Gillies took down Minnesota Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck, and though the nature, location (on the body), and intentions of the hit were (and still are) unclear, the referee wasted no time sending the Isles’ enforcer to the dressing room, slapping him with a ten minute misconduct, and effectively ending his night and quite possibly his season.

I’m not defending Trevor Gillies’ actions, but I will say that I’m a bit shocked that he’s received so much notoriety, especially in comparison to similar types of players in the NHL (and there are quite a few of them).

While I understand that the NHL is working vigorously to put an end to head shots and concussions, I think it’s important for the league and its fans not to overly obsess the actions of one player. Trevor Gillies has only played a handful of games during his entire career. It is unlikely that he’ll even be on an NHL team next season, yet he is the one that Colin Campbell and the league have decided to designate as their example.

To me, that is beyond puzzling, because there are several others in the NHL that play a similar game as Gillies, but are being virtually ignored at the moment, and those players have tons more seasons under their belt and have committed far worse actions than Trevor has.

What about Matt Cooke? The man possibly ruined Marc Savard’s career, not to mention that he also tried to take out Alex Ovechkin by kneeing him, yet no one seems to be harping on him nearly as much as they have been with Gillies. And speaking of Cal Clutterbuck, Gillies’ “victim” the other night, he has lead the league in hits for the last two seasons, and he’s dished out more than his fair share of questionable body checks.

My p0int is, the NHL is not going to solve these issues by making a big deal out of Trevor Gillies and his “goonery.” Gillies will probably find himself on an AHL or ECHL roster next season, so he’ll be a real treat for whichever of those two leagues he plays in.

The NHL needs to spend more time focusing on those enforcers who are in the league to stay, and will therefore be problematic for them in the long-term unless the proper course of action is taken.

It’s time for the hockey world to move on, because there are larger issues to dwell on out there.


Comments are welcome.


15 thoughts on “NHL Obsessing Over Trevor Gillies, Ignoring Larger Picture”

  1. I’m a Pens fan so I’ll try to keep my homerism from seeping in, but I’d be more lenient on Cooke than Gillies.

    The Savard hit was egregious, no question, and the lack of punishment laughable. But Gillies has no redeeming qualities as a hockey player. His career ratio for points to penalty minutes must be absurd.

    As others have said, Cooke is at least identifiable as a hockey player.

  2. Go and look up Gillies’ career stats after reading this. What a wonderful career it’s been. He earned 21 points TOTAL playing in the AHL. What a remarkable achievement! Let’s not forget his huge one and only point he has in his 16 game NHL career as well. ZERO TALENT!

    As much as Matt Cooke can be a goon at least he scores and has some talent.

    • Hey Greg, I agree that Gillies is a total goon too…but how many points did you score in the AHL last season?


  3. Bottom line and you can make this simple….HE IS A GOON!! Enough said about a guy who likes like a southern white supermacist on a mission to KO hockey players permanently. There is only one thing you can do to Mr. Gilles, show him the door and send him packing.

  4. nice article….Give Cooke a chance, he has actually changed his game since that. The best way to do away with Gillies is to suspend him for the rest of the season.

  5. It’s a lot easier to make an example of a guy who is going to be out of the league next year anyway than it is to make one of a guy who actually has an NHL career. You throw the book at Gillies, he’s in the ECHL next year, and then Bettman and Campbell get to tell everybody how tough they are on dirty players as Matt Cooke ends somebody else’s career.

  6. I don’t think the league is ignoring the other picture. I think, while similar, we are looking at 2 different situations; 2 sides of the same coin if you will.

    Gillies, as you said will most likely spend next season in the minors. But now his notoriety and fame will proceed him. This type of mentality needs to be squashed. Otherwise teams will hire goons that get called up to make a debacle of whichever game they play in, and will try to make a name for themselves in the process. Gillies is not an NHL caliber player in any way shape or form. And like him or not, dirty as he may be, Matt Cooke is an NHL caliber player.

    Setting rules to keep a player like Cooke in check is what the league seems to be focusing on, but situations like Gillies require severe punishment before that type of culture spreads. The league needs to send a clear and serious message that having players around like that will not be tolerated.

    • I think that’s a great point, Chris. A 32-year-old nobody is all of a sudden somebody. It’s an incentive for every other goon out there to do the same and get their 15 minutes of fame.

      • I don’t know if that’s the way someone like Gillies feels now, like a “somebody.” Especially considering he’s been trying to get a shot in the NHL for years now, surely this was not the sequence of events he had hoped for. I don’t think he’s enjoyed this type of fame, it’s the wrong kind of fame and he knows it.

  7. Everyone talks about Matt Cooke’s hit on Ovechkin but no one says a word about Ovechkin’s hit on Gonchar last season. What about Steckel’s unpunished hit on Crosby that has cost him most of the season. Hockey is a tough sometimes brutal game but there is no reason for anyone on any team going to severely injure another player, and that includes Cooke, even though I’m a Pens fan and love Matt Cooke.

  8. I think Gillies is getting most of the press for three reasons.

    First, he was a part of the Pens-Islanders game. Maybe no game this season received as much press (centered on fighting) as that game. Gillies was a central figure in that game, given how he handled himself in concussing and beating Eric Tangradi (who still has yet to practice).

    Certainly, committing a similar offense less than two minutes (ice time) into his first game doesn’t help.

    Other guys like Cooke may have longer resumes, but Gillies is allowing himself to become a story pretty quickly.

    • I understand that, and yes that game had so much press coverage, but in the long run, he’s not going to matter. by next season, gillies will be a non-factor because he won’t be here. that’s why it doesn’t make sense for the focus to be on him. None of this will matter come next year

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