Dennis Wideman suspension appeal for hitting linesman set for Wednesday
Flames defenceman struck Don Henderson from behind
Calgary Flames defenceman Dennis Wideman will appeal a 20-game suspension handed down to him by NHL, after he hit linesman Don Henderson from behind during a game on Jan. 27.
According to the NHL Players' Association, the appeal will be heard by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Wednesday in New York City.
Dennis Wideman's appeal hearing will be held on Wednesday in NYC.—@NHLPA
If the ban is upheld, the defenceman will to forfeit $564,516 US in salary, and would be eligible to return to the Flames' lineup March 14 against St. Louis.
The NHLPA says if the commisioner's ruling is still for a six-game ban or more, a further appeal could be heard by a neutral arbitrator.
Linesman left in a heap
The incident in question occurred during the second period of a game against the Nashville Predators. Wideman was skating toward the Flames' bench when he cross-checked Henderson, who had his back to the defenceman.
Moments earlier, Wideman, 32, had taken a hit from the Predators' Miikka Salomaki.
"Throughout my career and I've been around for a few years, I think I've treated every official with the utmost respect and I would never intentionally try to hit a linesman or a ref or anything like that," Wideman, a native of Kitchener, Ont., said following the game.
Longest NHL suspensions for abuse of official
- Tom Lysiak, Chicago: 20 games in 1983
- Andre Roy, Tampa Bay: 13 games in 2002
- Dan Carcillo, NY Rangers: 10 games in 2014
- Darcy Hordichuk, Phoenix: 10 games in 2002
- Rob Ray, Buffalo: 7 games (reduced from 10) in 2001
- Mike Peca, Columbus: 5 games in 2008
At the next stoppage, Wideman skated over to where the officials were gathered and apologized.
"I took a pretty hard hit down in the corner and had some pretty good pain in my shoulder and my neck and I was just trying to get off the ice and I was kind of keeled over and at the last second, I looked up and I saw him and I couldn't avoid it," Wideman said after the game.
The NHL rulebook states "any player who deliberately strikes an official and causes injury or who deliberately applies physical force in any manner against an official with intent to injure, or who in any manner attempts to injure an official shall be automatically suspended for not less than 20 games.
"For the purpose of the rule, 'intent to injure' shall mean any physical force which a player knew or should have known could reasonably be expected to cause injury."
Wideman has two goals and 17 assists and is minus-9 in 48 games this season. The six-foot, 202-pound defenceman has averaged 21 minutes per game this season and ranks third on the team in blocked shots with 74.