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Gillies to return from suspension

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders
On Friday morning, as Andrew MacDonald was talking to the media, breaking the bad news that his season is finished, Islanders forward Trevor Gillies was on the ice at the Coliseum getting his practice in before returning to the line up tomorrow night against the Flyers.

“It’s great to have him back,” said oft-linemate Matt Martin. “He’s a big part of our team. He’ll stand up for any one of us and he went through a bit of a tough stretch with a couple suspensions. But I played with him all last year. I’ve never really seen him suspended.”

Martin continued, “It was tough for him, but he handled it well and he’s been very supportive of the guys. We’re very supportive of him as well. It’s definitely good to have him back.”

Gillies is due to play his first game after serving a 10-game suspension for a hit he delivered to Cal Clutterbuck of the Minnesota Wild on March 2.

Trevor Gillies #14 of the New York Islanders watches members of the Colorado Avalanche warmup during the pre-game skate at the Pepsi Center on January 8, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Gillies has proven himself to be the type of guy that will go to bat for any one of his teammates. Off the ice, he’s a mild mannered guy with a big heart and as a result, has taken the double dose of suspensions rather hard. And on the ice, he’s never once set out with a mission to injure.

“The one thing about Trevor is, he doesn’t want to see anybody get hurt in this game,” Islanders interim head coach Jack Capuano said. “He plays it hard. He’s always played it hard in the minors and he’s worked his way to get here.”

Capuano continued, “As long as he continues to play that way – you really can’t think about what has happened in the past, but I’m sure it crossed his mind after looking at the (Matt) Cooke hit, and his hit, and what the league has done the last month – those guys have to find a way to make sure the physicality is there, but in the right way.”

Lucky for Gillies, he’s got a bench full of teammates that will stand by his side through the whole ordeal.

“A situation like this brings everyone closer together,” Martin said. “No one likes to see their teammate go through a tough time like he’s been. In the media, they’ve been pretty hard on him, but we kind of went through it all together. Hales (Micheal Haley), Gills (Gillies) and I kind of went through it together with the Pittsburgh game. It made us tighter as a group.

Martin continued, “You see how we all stick together and how we’re all a big family. You say that a lot, but it’s true. He’s a great teammate and he’s happy to be back. He’s going to be in the lineup and he’s going to be playing hard.”

No doubt, the forward will step on to the ice with that same intensity he always brings to his game. And when he’s on the bench, he’ll be screaming, cheering and pumping the team full of positive energy.
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