Calgary Flames defenceman Dennis Wideman says he's disappointed by the NHL's decision to slap him with a 20-game suspension for his bizarre hit on linesman Don Henderson.
"I did not have any intent at any time to hit the official or hurt him," Wideman told reporters in Calgary Thursday. "I would never do anything like that."
The 32-year-old NHL veteran offered no specific explanation about the hit, which baffled hockey fans and pundits alike.
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Wideman, himself, had just been hit hard into the boards by Miikka Salomaki of the Nashville Predators during a game at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Jan. 27 and was making his way to the bench in obvious distress.
When he encountered Henderson on the ice as he neared the bench, Wideman appeared to cross-check the official from behind before nonchalantly making his way to sit with his teammates, appearing still stunned.
No penalty was called on the play.
"I feel really bad about the whole situation," Wideman said Thursday.
"I pride myself on having a great working relationship with the officials and I hope to continue that."
Wideman, who will forfeit $564,516 US in salary for the 20 games he will miss, said he is appealing the NHL's decision.
"Again, I just want to apologize to Donny (Henderson)," he said. "I feel awful about what happened."