After serving nine and ten-game suspensions with less than two periods of play in between, Trevor Gillies has had plenty of time to reflect.
And the 32 year-old heavyweight enforcer admitted yesterday that he needs to make some changes.
“I still have to bring a physical game because that’s what I do, but I definitely have to tweak it a little bit,” Gillies said before yesterday’s match against the Flyers.
Although Gillies was a healthy scratch, it was the first game he was eligible to play after his hit on Minnesota’s Cal Clutterbuck earned him a ten-game ban on March 2. The checking-from-behind major and game misconduct came in his first game back after a nine-game suspension resulting from his action’s in February 11’s fight-fest against the Penguins.
“I’ve had a long time to think about this here,” Gillies said. “I’ve served my time and I know what I have to do moving forward. I’ve got to stay positive and keep working hard. I talked to [coach] Jack Capuano and we’re on the same page. I know what I have to do—keep it clean and still bring that physical element-- but ultimately play within the rules.”
Capuano said he has spoken to Gillies, as well as others on his team, about how to modify his game to comply with the rules.
“If you look throughout the league right now—and Trevor is included in that along with a lot of other guys—it’s the technique on finishing your checks and hitting,” Capuano said. “Moving forward Trevor understands some adjustments he has to make.”
Despite all the criticism that Gillies has incurred for his transgressions this season—some have likened him to accused headhunter Matt Cooke-- Capuano defended his player's character.
“He is not out there to hurt anyone by any means. He plays physical and we don’t want him to change that,” Capuano said. “I don’t know Matt Cooke. I know he plays the game hard and has made some mistakes. Trevor hasn’t made as many mistakes of others in this league, but he’s made a couple and he’s going to have to live with that. He understands that.”
For all the scrutiny he has had to endure, Gillies said he has received a tremendous amount of support from those around him.
“I know how every one of my brothers in this room feels about me as well as my family, friends and our fans and staff," he said. "That’s what’s important to me.”