20 June 2011
Friday afternoon the Islanders announced the resigning of enforcer/tough guy Trevor Gillies, a decision that has come as a surprise to some after the season he had on Long Island.
The decision is an ironic one since just a year ago Garth Snow said the Islanders wouldn’t bring in a one dimensional enforcer type player. Now the team has added several gritty, tough players, although they do have the ability to do more than just be enforcers.
However, Gillies hasn’t been used as anything other than that. He only had two goals this past season and finished as a minus three. He saw an average of around three minutes of ice time over the course of the season and the most playing time he saw was 8:56 against the New York Rangers on December 27.
In turn the signing makes little sense.
Of course he is best known throughout the league for his two suspensions last season. Gllies received a nine game suspension for his elbow to the head on Eric Tangradi on February 11 and then a ten game suspension on March 5 for a hit from behind on Cal Clutterbuck. Gillies had just come back from his previous nine game suspension and was only four shifts into the game when he was kicked out for his hit on Clutterbuck.
The two incidents were examples of how Gillies can let his emotions get the best of him, or that he need to be more responsible with his hits, or both. But the instances were PR nightmares for the Isles who faced weeks of criticism. Gillies has also been vilified in Pittsburgh as a thug and goon, although I’m sure he could careless.
Again in retrospect the decision to resign a player that was invisible on the ice, on a good night, is baffling and raises a more prominent question; will the Isles resign Zenon Konopka.
Since the trade deadline Konopka has expressed his desire to remain with the Islanders. He has been a vocal leader on and off the ice to the team. The most memorable times were during, ironically enough, the Gillies incident and when he called out TSN reporters during a morning skate after an anchor on SportsCentre called the Isles “the doormat of the NHL.”
Konopka led the team in face off wins, also will step up and defend his teammates and can score a little more often than Gillies has or did. Yet GM Garth Snow has been hesitant or does not want to resign Zenon Konopka.
Gillies will only be here for another season and it is just a two-way contract, but the fact the team has shown more of a commitment to player that has brought so much controversy, over one that has expressed the desire to stay with the Islanders for the long haul and holds value is concerning.
If Konopka is not resigned and Gillies is on the Islanders roster and not down in Bridgeport than celebrity news there should be some question of the originations decision.
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