Morning Skate 33: Time to hit Gillies hard

Morning Skate 33: Time to hit Gillies hard
March 3, 2011, 9:43 pm
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By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comBOSTON Its time to get Trevor Gillies out of the NHL, and not let the NHL swinging door hit him on the way out.The New York Islanders goon concussed Pittsburgh Penguins Eric Tangradi with a blind side hit during the embarrassing fight night between the Isles and Pens several weeks back as one its main perpetrators. But thats just the beginning.He also laughed and mocked the fallen player while watching medical staff rush onto the ice to treat Tangradi after Gillies delivered the knockout hit and then pummeled Tangradi as he crumpled toward the frozen sheet.It was a disgusting moment in a sport where honor, reputation and a code of conduct have been set in place since the very first puck was dropped.So Gillies, the Mohawk-sporting thug, serves a nine-game suspension for his little piece of deranged behavior against the Penguins, and then Wednesday night tries to take out tough guy Cal Clutterbuck with a head shot in his first game back from the league-mandated discipline against the Minnesota Wild. Word in hockey circles is that Gillies is a mixed martial arts fan and Ultimate Fighting guy that fancies himself that kind of colorful character on the ice. He seems to have no desire to better himself as a player or become a real hockey asset, and instead is overjoyed to simply be what fellow hockey players derisively call a meathead on a hockey team.The hit on Clutterbuck was away from the play, and nowhere near the puck in true meathead fashion. Gillies didnt even try to take the body or make a hockey play -- and instead directed his glove, stick butt end and fist right at the side of Clutterbucks face while his back was turned to the charging Islanders skater. Meanwhile Tangradi is clearing the fog out of his head for the Penguins, and things simply get uglier on Long Island.In many ways the Isles situation seems like Reg Dunlops Chiefs from Slap Shot after the Hansen Brothers have taken over. Its where the Isles have given up any pretense of winning or losing for the season and instead are paying players to go out hunting for heads. For a team thats already been on the NHL fringe for quite some time, its a dangerous place for the squad to position itself.That kind of things need to be dealt with swiftly and mercilessly by the NHL as they meet with Gillies and decide on some form of supplementary discipline. Theres no place in the game for a guy like Gillies looking to make a name by hurting his fellow players.Colin Campbell and the NHL should make that clear while they have the chance to end this Gillies situation, once and for all, before somebody truly gets hurt.On to the links:Bob Probert had evidence of degenerative brain disease after all the hits and fights during his NHL career. Not really surprising and a little scary to guys living the Probert Way of Life in the NHL.CSN controversy magnet and self-styled truth teller Mike Felger doesnt think the Bruins belong in the conversation as one of the Top Four teams in the NHL.Justin Bourne takes a look at why some teams manage to pull themselves together in the sport of hockey despite crippling injuries.A good piece by SI.coms Michael Farber about the number of quality ex-NHL coaches that are simply hanging around waiting for a phone call.More SI.com with another believer that Tim Thomas could and should be in the running for the Hart Trophy this season. I have a vote and Im certainly listening to any and all arguments that goaltenders should qualify for the award.Dan Hamhuis ready to suit up against the Nashville Predators team that saw him walkaway via free agencylast season.Adrian Dater ticks off the top five NHL fan groups, and somehow has the Los Angeles Kings in there for VERSUS.cominstead of some much more traditional choices like Boston for instance.A really well-constructed piece about Sidney Crosby from Pittsburgh Magazine, concussions and the effect its had on the league and its players.