In a somewhat surprising move, the National Hockey League has announced it’s upholding Calgary Flames defensemen Dennis Wideman’s 20-game suspension for checking a linesman. With the suspension, Wideman will forfeit more $564,516.20 in salary.
Below video of the incident in question.
Hughes further reports at Wideman’s hearing, the NHLPA argued he suffered a concussion on the previous play, and was not responsible for checking the linesman and there was no intent to injure because of his head injury.
NHL commissioner determined that the suspension was appropriate, saying he was “troubled by Mr. Wideman’s total failure to accept any responsibility for his actions.”
Wideman apparently sent a text to teammates which must have been shown to Bettman, which basically killed any sympathy towards him.
Wideman sent text msg to teammate on Feb. 2: "(t)he only problem and the only reason I'm here is cause the stupid refs and stupid media."
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) February 17, 2016
The play left Don Henderson, the linesman Wideman knocked to the ice, in hospital until 5 AM the following day, where he dealt with neck pain nausea. Henderson had to be tested for a concussion via the concussion protocol. The NHL initially suspended Wideman indefinitely, and than 20-games. That number was expected to be reduced given the murkiness of the situation, but the NHL must firmly believes the hit was intentional and Wideman knew what he was doing.
Bob McKenzie of TSN reports Wideman and the NHLPA ca now file an independent arbitration which would be the first time that’s happened under the current collective bargaining agreement. We’re guessing this won’t be the last development in this story between Wideman and the league. That said the Flames are unlikely to make the playoffs this year so you wonder if Wideman and the team might just consider moving on. We’ll have more updates as new developments arise.