NEW YORK (AP) — The NHL suspended New York Islanders forwards Trevor Gillies for nine games and Matt Martin for four and handed the club a $100,000 fine late Saturday night for their actions in a fight-filled win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Only enforcer Eric Godard was punished on the Penguins side by the league as he received an automatic 10-game suspension for leaving the bench Friday night to join the third-period brawl.
Gillies’ ban was for delivering a blow to the head of Penguins forward Eric Tangradi and punching him several times, leaving him with concussion-like symptoms that will keep him out for at least Sunday’s game against the New York Rangers.
Martin was suspended for punching unsuspecting Penguins forward Max Talbot from behind.
“The actions by the Islanders’ Gillies and Martin were deliberate attempts to injure by delivering blows to the head of players who were unsuspecting and unable to defend themselves,” league disciplinarian Colin Campbell said after conducting hearings in Buffalo. “The message should be clear to all players: targeting the head of an opponent by whatever means will be dealt with by suspension.”
The low-budget Islanders were hit hard financially by Campbell, who said the team “must bear some responsibility for their failure to control their players.”
Godard’s was the easiest sentence to hand out as the penalty for his actions is explicitly stated in the league rule book (Rule 70.11). Although he appeared to be coming to the defense of goalie Brent Johnson, who was charged by New York’s Micheal Haley for a fight, that didn’t alter the punishment.
“There can be no circumstance that allows for a player to leave his bench for the purpose of coming to the aid of a teammate,” Campbell said in a statement.
Gillies will lose $24,193 in salary, Martin will be docked $41,585, and Godard will give up $40,322.