Clutterbuck condemns Gillies' hit

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 4, 2011 - 12:54 AM

Wild right wing Cal Clutterbuck (right)

Photo: Mark J. Terrill, Associated Press

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NEW YORK - One big indication that Cal Clutterbuck wasn't feeling well after taking a Trevor Gillies forearm to the head Wednesday night was how reticent Clutterbuck was afterward.

The Wild's thunderous hitter never shies from offering his opinion, and Clutterbuck was in no mood to discuss Gillies after a loss to the Islanders.

He was before Thursday's game against the Rangers.

"I think the funniest thing was his quote after the game. It was a pretty big joke," Clutterbuck said. "He was just trying to finish his check. I don't know where he learned to hit. I'm pretty sure he just punched me. That's what I felt and that's what it looked like on video.

"The fact is he's only playing there because half their team's injured. There's no way that guy should be in the National Hockey League."

Gillies has been summoned to NHL headquarters in Toronto on Friday morning for a disciplinary hearing. Gillies' head shot on Clutterbuck came in his first game back from a nine-game suspension for another head shot.

"It's in [the NHL's] hands," Clutterbuck said. "They've got to nip this thing in the bud before it really gets out of hand. What's next? What if he hit somebody and knocks him out cold, really hurts them, and makes them miss a year's time? What if he hit [Pierre-Marc Bouchard, who missed 20-plus months with a concussion]?

"What if for some reason in a couple days I get symptoms and I have to miss time where it's really important for our team?"

Clutterbuck said he didn't "feel 100 percent after [Wednesday's game], but it could have been a whole combination of things. I mean, I got hit pretty hard. I didn't really expect to feel normal."

He still didn't sound fully convinced he didn't have a concussion. After all, symptoms often arise well afterward, as evidenced by Antti Miettinen earlier this season after being hit by Los Angeles' Dustin Brown.

"Let's hope I've got a good chin," Clutterbuck said.

Clutterbuck is on pace to lead the NHL in hits for a third consecutive season. Gillies' hit came in retaliation for a boarding penalty by Clutterbuck on another Islander.

Asked if he cared some hockey fans might find it hypocritical of Clutterbuck to call Gillies dirty, Clutterbuck said, "When I hit guys, I don't punch them in the face. I've never been suspended. I do what I do. I think I've got what [50] penalty minutes and under 200 (178) in my career? I think for somebody to go out and call me dirty is somebody clearly not educated and doesn't know what they're talking about."

Etc.

• The Wild called up Casey Wellman from AHL Houston and reassigned former Ranger Jed Ortmeyer. Coach Todd Richards said he wanted to add Wellman's youth, speed and energy to a team that needed fresh blood.

Wellman had played four games with the Aeros since missing a month because of a separated shoulder.

"I've been working hard to ultimately get back here," Wellman said.

• Get ready to see a shaggy Brent Burns and Nick Schultz. The two defensemen have a bet underway to see who can go the longest without getting a haircut. "I'll have hair down to my toes," Burns said. "I've done a lot worse for a lot less money."

• Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher talked to Mikko Lehtonen, the leading goal scorer in the Swedish Elite League, on Tuesday about eventually signing him. Acquired for Anton Khudobin from Boston, Lehtonen wants to attend the Wild's training camp next fall.

• Wild prospect Jason Zucker, a freshman for Denver, was named NCAA rookie of the month for February (12 points).

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