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Gillies returns, then ejected for hit

Trevor Gillies #14 of the New York Islanders

Trevor Gillies #14 of the New York Islanders skates against the Minnesota Wild. (March 2, 2011) Credit: Jim McIsaac

Enforcer Trevor Gillies played for the first time since serving a nine-game ban for his elbow on Penguins winger Eric Tangradi Feb. 11, but he didn't last long.

Gillies, 32, was ejected with a game misconduct after his hit on Wild winger Cal Clutterbuck in the second period. He played only four shifts.

Gillies smashed Clutterbuck from behind after Clutterback boarded Islanders forward Justin DiBenedetto. Clutterbuck received a minor boarding penalty while Gillies received a five-minute major for hitting from behind and the game misconduct.

Given his status as a repeat offender, he is likely to face supplementary discipline from the league in the form of a fine or another suspension.

"There was no intent at all to injure," Gillies said. "I saw him hit [DiBenedetto] and I just made a hit on him. That's it . . . I didn't think it was from behind at all. I hit him from the side."

Grabner named top rookie

The accolades continue to roll in for Michael Grabner. The 23-year-old winger was named the NHL's Rookie of the Month Wednesday.

Grabner, claimed by the Islanders off waivers from Florida in October, led all rookies in scoring for the month of February with 10 goals and six assists. Grabner is tied with San Jose's Logan Couture for most goals by a rookie with 25.

"It's a nice honor. There's a lot of good talent in the league," Grabner said. "Hopefully I can have that same success this month."

Nearly impossible to sustain his red-hot pace from mid-February (10 goals, three assists in six games), Grabner has cooled off recently. He has not scored a goal in the past eight games, though he did have an assist last night.

New York Sports