Gillies proves Lemieux's point - 03-03-11

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

In his first game back following a nine-game suspension, Trevor Gillies managed to something Mario Lemieux couldn't do.

He did a better job of proving Lemieux's point about violence than Lemieux himself.

Early in the second period of last night's game against the Wild, Gillies struck Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck in the side of the head near the boards:

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Gilles was given a major for checking from behind and a game misconduct.

Gillies was suspended for elbowing Penguins forward Eric Tangradi in the head of a fight-filled debacle, Feb. 11. After delivering the hit, Gillies punched Tangradi in the head and taunted him from the runway leading to the locker room:

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Tangradi has not played since that game due to a concussion.

Two days after Gillies' hit on Tangradi, Lemieux issued the following statement (emphasis added by us):

“Hockey is a tough, physical game, and it always should be. But what happened Friday night on Long Island wasn’t hockey. It was a travesty. It was painful to watch the game I love turn into a sideshow like that.

The NHL had a chance to send a clear and strong message that those kinds of actions are unacceptable and embarrassing to the sport. It failed.

We, as a league, must do a better job of protecting the integrity of the game and the safety of our players. 
We must make it clear that those kinds of actions will not be tolerated and will be met with meaningful disciplinary action.

If the events relating to Friday night reflect the state of the league, I need to re-think whether I want to be a part of it.”

EN Says: This is exactly what Lemieux was talking about. Gillies missed nine games following the hit to Tangradi. It was assumed, not by Lemieux obviously, that Gillies would've learned his lesson having to go nine games without getting paid. Obviously, Gillies and Lemieux proved that mindset horribly wrong.

Individually, Gillies needs to be hammered with further discipline. It obvious he just doesn't get it. He sees a young teammate in Justin DiBenedetto getting hit by an agitating player like Cal Clutterbuck and his FIRST instinct apparently is to hit Clutterbuck in the head. He seemingly learned nothing in by sitting nine games. The league should have suspended him 20 games after the Tangradi hit. Anything less in this instance would be a joke.

Overall, Gillies managed to embarrass the NHL and its chief discipline czar Colin Campbell last night. Forget about Gillies not getting it. It's pretty clear the NHL and Campbell don't get it whatsoever.

If Lemieux really wants to make a statement much stronger than a four paragraph release on the team's Web site, he should lead a movement to revamp how the NHL doles out discipline. That begins and ends with finding a replacement for Campbell who, as Lemieux said, failed to get a message across to Gillies and the league as a whole that actions such as these are unacceptable.

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