The NHL on Wednesday suspended Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman for 20 games without pay for violating Rule 40 (physical abuse of officials) during Calgary’s game against Nashville on Jan. 27.
Wideman had taken a hit and appeared dazed as he skated back toward his team’s bench. Linesman Don Henderson, backskating and watching play continue, inadvertently blocked Wideman’s access to the nearest door to the bench. Wideman cross-checked Henderson from behind, knocking the linesman to the ice at 11:42 of the second period. Henderson was not hurt.
“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 told reporters after the game."
Wideman participated in a hearing with NHL executives on Tuesday. He can appeal the decision to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman; if he chooses to appeal that decision, his final appeal would be to an independent arbitrator.
Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement and based on his average annual salary, Wideman will lose $564,516.20. The money will go to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund, as it does whenever players are suspended.