As I have stated a number of times and never have I made an apology for it, but I am an “old school” hockey fan. I enjoy the intensity and emotion of the game of hockey, and as long as it is clean and done with honor, I have no problems with the hitting or the fighting. Despite what some people seem to think or would like to see, guys like Trevor Gillies still have a place on a “new NHL” team.
The “enforcer” role has been in the league forever, and though it can present itself in different forms, Gillies, to me, is simply “old time” protector. The guy stands up for his teammates, does it well, and makes no excuses nor does he sugar coat it. If you wrong one of his teammates, Trevor is going to make sure you hear about it and feel his displeasure the next time he is on the ice. There is nothing complicated or complex about his game.
As far as I am concerned, the two suspensions Gillies received during the course of the season were nonsense. In particular, after the “ferocious Friday” game against the Penguins, it was basically league overreaction and a knee jerk response to events of that evening. I am not saying that Trevor didn’t “deserve” to be suspended, but the number of games and the way he was vilified by some NHL commentators was purely ridiculous. From everything I have heard and read about Gillies, he is a great team guy and a classy human being off the ice. Fighter as he might be, he, unlike some notable characters currently playing in the NHL today, “gets it”.
Trevor scored 2 goals in 39 games and wracked up 165 PIM. Scoring, though, was not why he was put out on the ice, and I have no problem with the number of penalty minutes he totaled. Gillies is a 4th line enforcer, a guy who will get 5 minutes on the ice tops. Again, there is nothing mysterious or multi-dimensional to his game. That’s perfectly fine as far as I am concerned.
Overall, I would give Trevor Gillies a B+ for the season. He did what he was there for, and he did it well. I can recall a game against the Blue Jackets in which someone took a run at John Tavares after the whistle and Gillies immediately went after the guy to end up pummeling him. That’s why he was in the lineup, and that’s why guys like him still have a place in the “modern” NHL. He is one of the guys I, as a fan, would be honored to meet and shake his hand.
The Isles just signed him to another year. This, to me, clearly states that management appreciates and understands what Trevor Gillies brings to the table. Personally, I am glad to know that he’ll be back. He wins or, at worse, ties his fights, and his presence on the bench alone serves an important purpose for a young, developing group of guys.
Now, Garth, sign Zenon Konopka and get that job done, please?
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