Wideman suspended 20 games for hitting linesman

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The NHL has come down hard on Dennis Wideman.

On Wednesday, TSN reported that Wideman has been suspended 20 games for cross-checking linesman Don Henderson from behind in Calgary’s final game before the All-Star break.

The NHL has since confirmed the report, announcing that Wideman has been suspended without pay for “conduct violative of Rule 40 (Physical Abuse of Officials).” He’ll be docked $564,516.20 in salary, which will go to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

The Flames blueliner had been suspended indefinitely pending his hearing with the league, which occurred on Tuesday. Wideman had said the hit was unintentional and apologized on several occasions.

“Throughout my career – I’ve been around for a few years – I think I’ve treated every official with the utmost respect,” Wideman said after the game, per the Calgary Herald. “I would never intentionally try to hit a linesman or a ref or anything like that.

“It was completely unintentional and I already apologized to him (on the ice).”

Prior to hitting Henderson, Wideman had been checked by Nashville’s Miikka Salomaki and said he “had some pretty good pain in my shoulder and neck.”

Henderson was hospitalized following the incident, experiencing nausea and a stiff neck. He also underwent a series of concussion protocol tests.

Per TSN, Wideman will “likely” appeal the suspension. The last successful appeal of this nature occurred in 2014, when then-Rangers forward Dan Carcillo got his 10-game ban for “deliberately applying physical force to an official” reduced to six games.

As for Calgary, it’s possible the club saw the Wideman suspension coming. Prior to today’s announcement, the Flames recalled defenseman Jakub Nakladal from AHL Stockton.

Nakladal has 14 points in 35 games this year and, like Wideman, is a right-handed shot.

Wideman’s suspension begins tonight, when the Flames host the ‘Canes at the Saddledome. He’s eligible to return on Monday, Mar. 14 when Calgary hosts St. Louis.

Add Sabres to list of teams courting ‘big fish’ Steven Stamkos

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 26:  Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning in action against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on May 26, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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In a reality without a salary cap, it would be quicker to note who isn’t interested in Steven Stamkos than who is.

Budgets thin the real-world list out considerably, but more than that, there’s also the notion of where the current captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning would actually go.

Still, we’re now in the tamper-free zone for Stamkos, so expect a wide variety of pitches that range from reasonable to remote.

One interesting team surfacing is the Buffalo Sabres. GM Tim Murray provided an interesting take on trying to land Stamkos, the “big fish,” to reporters on Saturday.

(Geography meaning that Buffalo is awfully close to Toronto, in case Stamkos wants to be relatively close to home but maybe would rather not be a member of the Maple Leafs.)

And, hey, Stamkos wouldn’t need to worry about that pesky practice of playing on the wing:

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun lays out a few frontrunners, even if the Detroit Red Wings are being more coy than others.

Nevertheless, it’s absolutely 100 percent guaranteed that the Red Wings will make an offer to Stamkos. The Vancouver Canucks and, of course, his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs are among the other potential suitors, and some other teams might surprise.

Maybe throw the headline-seeking New York Rangers into the mix while you’re at it:

Many, including TSN’s Bob McKenzie, indicate Stamkos would prefer to stay with the Tampa Bay Lightning if all things are equal … but other teams may be able to offer financial and geographic incentives.

It wouldn’t be surprising if some teams hint at interest merely to save face.

Long story short, expect plenty of speculation heading into free agency on July 1.

For all we know, someone may indeed make such a strong pitch that the Lightning might facilitate a sign-and-trade.

Shattenkirk, agent are ‘a bit surprised’ Blues didn’t trade him

DENVER, CO - APRIL 03:  Kevin Shattenkirk #22 of the St. Louis Blues controls the puck against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on April 3, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Blues defeated the Avalanche 5-1. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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During what could be a summer of tough calls, the St. Louis Blues sent Brian Elliott to the Calgary Flames during draft weekend. Depending upon whom you ask, it sounds like they should have been even busier.

To be specific, Kevin Shattenkirk and his reps seemed to believe that they were headed out of town.

As mentioned on Thursday, it sounds like the Blues are OK with Shattenkirk discussing an extension with a potential trade partner … at least if the price is right.

That wasn’t the case yet, as his reps told ESPN’s Craig Custance.

Going a little further, Blues GM Doug Armstrong explained why he didn’t pull the trigger on a Shattenkirk deal to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

“Maybe my asking price is too high or maybe I value him higher than other people. But I haven’t been anywhere close to what I think is representative of the value of Kevin Shattenkirk,” Armstrong said on Friday (and reiterated on Saturday).

If icy talks are thawing out, perhaps it’s just a matter of time.

Then again, we’ve seen plenty of instances in which a player almost gets traded only to remain an integral part of a team, so we’ll need to wait and see.

And so will Shattenkirk.

Ray Bourque gets arrested, OUI charge after car accident

DALLAS - JANUARY 22:  Raymond Bourque speaks to the media during the American Airlines NHL Salute to a Generation of Stars at the American Airlines Center on January 22, 2007 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque was arrested and charged with OUI (operating under the influence) after a car accident on Friday, according to outlets including the Boston Globe and CSNNE.com.

The accident happened in Andover, Mass. The Boston Globe reports that no one suffered injuries from the two-car crash.

Other sources refer to it as a DWI and a charge of “following too closely.”

Bourque, 55, was released on bail.

No other information, including a court date, is available at this time.

Sabres GM doesn’t ‘know all the details’ of Evander Kane investigation

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 18:  Evander Kane #9 of the Buffalo Sabres during the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on January 18, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Sabres defeated the Coyotes 2-1.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Buffalo Sabres “are still getting information” about an investigation regarding Evander Kane allegedly harassing two women at a bar, the Buffalo News’ John Vogl reports.

Here are some details regarding that situation, via the Associated Press:

The person said Kane is accused of grabbing the woman by the arm or shoulder early Friday. The person said no charges have been filed and no one has been arrested.

Sabres GM Tim Murray backed up the assertion that the team is still digging into the situation.

It doesn’t sound like they are happy to see Kane generating negative headlines, however.

“It frustrates me that it’s public and in the press, but people live their lives,” Murray said, according to the Buffalo News. “If this is like the last one and in three days they say nothing happened and it goes away, sure, it’s frustrating, but to me it’s a wait and see.”

“If it’s true, then we have to deal with it the way we have to deal with it. If it’s false again, then I guess we have to come up with a different plan of attack on how to make sure that these accusations that may not be true, how we stop them.”

The Sabres haven’t released an official statement regarding the matter. PHT will provide an update if they do.