The NHL has suspended Islanders enforcer Trevor Gillies 10 games for his hit Wednesday on Minnesota Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck.
The 10-game ban was handed down after Gillies' 12 p.m. hearing with league disciplinarian Colin Campbell in Toronto today.
"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," Campbell said in a statement released by the NHL. "While it is fortunate that 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."
Gillies' hit on Clutterbuck, which earned him a 5-minute checking-from-behind major and game misconduct, came only four shifts into his first game back since serving a nine-game suspension for his elbow on Penguins forward Eric Tangradi February 11.
Newsday confirmed that no Islanders representatives accompanied Gillies to the proceedings, which is believed to be unprecedented in a hearing of this magnitude.
GM Garth Snow stayed behind for team photo day but was telephone-conferenced in for the hearing along with Gillies’ agent Peter Cooney, whose travel plans also prevented him from being there. Gillies attended with members of the NHLPA instead.
The 32-year-old forfeited roughly $24,000 in last month's suspension, but will lose significantly more this time--$60, 975.60-- because he is a repeat offender. First-time offenders pay with relation to the amount of days in a season (186) while repeat offenders pay by the number of games (82).
After the game Wednesday -- a 4-1 Islanders win -- Gillies and head coach Jack Capuano both defended the hit, saying that Clutterbuck's back wasn't fully turned.
That was little consolation to the league, which deemed the shot as the type of hit they are trying to extricate from the game--where the head is the primary point of contact or intended target.
Gillies said there was "no intent to injure him at all." and that he was trying to finish his hit on Clutterbuck, who boarded Gillies' teammate Justin DiBenedetto moments before.
Clutterbuck disagreed with Gillies' defense, telling the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that it was a "big joke."
"There's no way that guy should be in the National Hockey League."
For as much criticism as he has endured, Gillies is beloved inside the Islanders dressing room as a loyal friend and teammate.
“He’s a family member of ours, and we are going to back him 100 per cent through this situation,” Zenon Konopka said.
Konopka also said Gillies is not a dirty player.
“When Trevor got back into the lineup, he asked me every shift what to do in the breakout and what [Minnesota’s] system is. He didn’t have the intent to hurt anybody and he didn’t have the intent to throw an offside hit. He had intent to play hockey.”
Gillies, who has one goal and 124 penalty minutes in 33 games this season, will be eligible to return to the Islanders lineup March 26, when the Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.