John Tavares had a broken tooth as a reminder of the type of game the Flyers played the last time the Islanders made a visit to the Wachovia Center.
"That's they style they play. They are not afraid to throw their bodies around. They bully you and try to push you around...that's how they got their nicknmane. That's what makes those games fun, chippy and rough," said the prized rookie, who has since had his tooth repaired.
Tomorrow, however, the Islanders will have a different element in their lineup.
Enter Trevor Gillies.
"My goal is to be a deterrent so they don't take any liberties with our skill players," the 6-3, 220-pound enforcer said.
If you need evidence that Gillies can throw a punch, take a punch and go the distance, Youtube his recent fight against Jeremy Yablonski*
Defenseman Andrew MacDonald, who has played with Gillies in Bridgeport, can also attest.
"He's a great teammate and a good guy in the room who will do anything for his teammates. And he does his job really well. One of the top-3 toughest guys in the AHL," MacDonald said.
Without explicitly saying as much, that's the type of girt Scott Gordon's Islanders will gladly embrace as they try to break a three-game skid tomorrow.
"He brings energy, is vocal on the bench and sticks up for his teammates," said Gordon, who coached Gillies briefly in Providence.
"My whole game is being a good teammate and doing whatever it takes for the team," Gillies said. " That's something I take a lot of pride in--the physicality I bring to the game--I plan on being a physical force."
"My whole job is to hopefully be a deterrent so they don't take liberties with our skill players, so hopefully the game stays clean and nothing has to be done," Gillies said. " But if it does, I'm more than happy to stand up for my teammates against anyone."
Gillies has not played an NHL game since 2005-06 with Anaheim, so he expects this experience to be a tad different.
"To be honest I was much younger of a buck back then and my emotions were probably a little too high," Gillies said. " Now I'm 30 years old so I try to stay even keel and work my hardest every shift and help the team in any way."
Gillies, who turns 31 tomorrow, was planning a low-key celebration--dinner with his Bridgeport teammates and spending time with his wife and kids--but he had to adjust his plans once getting the call up.
"This is a much nicer birthday present," Gillies joked.
What does he hope to show in his Islanders debut?
"Hoping to put my best foot forward, maybe stick around and help the team out."
Gordon said he was still undecided about who to take out of the lineup to make room for Tough-Guy Trevor. Should have a better idea tomorrow.
*Despite the fierce heavyweight bout between Gillies and Yablonski, they happen to actually be best friends. Gillies served as the best man in Yablonski's wedding and Yablonski was a groomsman in his. "He's my best friend, actually. We had a good one the other night. Afterwards we both had black eyes and we were hugging each other and I kissed his wife and kid. That's just part of the job, you leave it on the ice. Win or lose, we'll always be buddies"
**No, Gillies, is not related to Islander great Clark. "I wish I was," Gillies joked. "Pretty good guy to be related to !"