Calgary defenseman Dennis Wideman was hit hard during the second period of the Flames’ game against Nashville on Wednesday night.
So was linesman Don Henderson. The official fell to the ice after being cross-checked from behind by Wideman, who was on his way to the bench after absorbing a hit from the Predators’ Miikka Salomaki.
“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,” Wideman said after the game. “And I was kind of keeled over and at the last second, I looked up and I saw [Henderson] and I couldn’t avoid it.”
Wideman wasn’t penalized, and he and Henderson remained in the game. The 11-year veteran player said he apologized to Henderson during the next stoppage in play.
“Throughout my career — and I’ve been around for a few years — I think I’ve treated every official with the utmost respect,” Wideman said, “and I would never intentionally try to hit a linesman or a ref or anything like that.”
Still, Wideman could end up with a major suspension. The NHL rulebook states that deliberate contact with an official results in a minimum suspension of 10 games if there appears to be no intent to injure or 20 if an intent to injure is determined. Such matters are decided by Colin Campbell, the senior executive vice president of hockey operations.