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.