Congrats, Mr. Gillies

2011 January 13
by Don Hammack

I’m going to be honest with you. This is a highlight I never thought I’d see.

Trevor Gillies played for the Mississippi Sea Wolves back in the 1999-2000 season. He bounced around the ECHL and AHL until a cup of coffee with Anaheim in 2005-06, then for a few more years until last season. He played 14 games with the Islanders. In those games, he piled up 75 penalty minutes — and an assist. This year, he’s got 75 penalty minutes in 26 games, plus that goal.

That’s what Trevor Gillies does. He’s an enforcer, a tough guy who uses his hands more for fighting than for scoring goals. There’s no shame in that. In fact, it’s a job with a very strict code of, dare I say, gentlemanly conduct. There are important rules involved with being an enforcer, when to fight, who to fight and how to fight. Whether fighting in hockey is an important pressure relief valve for the games or just a marketing tool for bloodthirsty fans has long been debated.

What can’t be debated here is that Trevor Gillies has put in his time, abused his hands and now gotten a goal in the NHL. He’ll turn 32 on Jan. 30, and that’s the thing that surprises me about this goal. I never doubted his desire in the time I covered him, but NHL debuts in the 30s don’t happen all that often. For overcoming and persevering, I salute him. I’m sure he’ll sleep the sleep of a baby tonight, even though he’s still 893 goals behind Gretzky.

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