Because the Isles aren't a good team means that can't stick up for themselves? If you watch the video again, you can clearly see Martin try to spin Talbot towards him (facing Martin) just before/as he punches. Gillies has been a regular this year with the Isles (if you watch any of their game) and has played 32 games this season.
The difference is Claude actually laid a dirty hit on Kris Draper, McCarty didn't grab him from the side he hit him straight on. I don't know how anyone can compare these beer league goons to the Wings Avs in the late 90's. Differences both Detroit and Colorado had great skill and were tops in the league, the Islanders NO! McCarty was a regular in the line up. Gillies not so much.
I think it was more in response to Tangradi pushing the Isles around earlier in the game, and that Flower and Johnson laughed after DiPietro was hurt last game.
Tangradi must have said something from the bench or something like that because Gilles was really letting him hear it while he was down.