Mike Halford

Flames also disagree with Wideman suspension, say hit was ‘unintentional and accidental’

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Looks like the Calgary Flames are in lockstep with the NHLPA in their views of the Dennis Wideman suspension.

Not long after the players’ union confirmed it was appealing Wideman’s 20-game ban for hitting linesman Don Henderson during a game last week, the Flames released a statement of their own, through team president Brian Burke:

“We disagree with the severity of today’s suspension ruling and maintain that Dennis’ collision with the linesman was unintentional and accidental.

“We agree that our officials’ safety and well-being is of extreme importance in order to allow them to perform their duties. They perform an invaluable but underappreciated role in our game. We support sanctions against players who make deliberate contact with any official.

“However, unintentional and accidental contact does occur at times in our game. We will have no further comment on the matter at this time.”

This story has taken the league by storm today, and it’s unlikely to go away anytime soon. There’s been no timetable set for Wideman’s appeal hearing but, in a late twist on Wednesday evening, the league acknowledged that, following the game in which Henderson was hit, Wideman was diagnosed with a concussion.

Of course, the league also pointed out that Wideman refused medical attention after getting hit by Nashville’s Miikka Salomaki — the hit largely believed to have caused the concussion — and remained in the contest.

Related:

NHL confirms Wideman was diagnosed with concussion after hitting linesman (Video)

NHL confirms Wideman was diagnosed with concussion after hitting linesman (Video)

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The Dennis Wideman saga took another turn on Wednesday evening.

In the video explanation for Wideman’s 20-game suspension for hitting linesman Don Henderson, the league revealed that — after the Flames-Preds game in which the incident occurred — Wideman was diagnosed with a concussion, potentially suffered on a hit he took moments before colliding with Henderson.

“It is accepted for the purposes of this decision that he was later diagnosed as having suffered a concussion,” the NHL explained. “However, that fact even accepted as true, cannot excuse Wideman’s subsequent actions.

“First, although he appears to get up slowly from being checked, Wideman skates steadily and purposefully to his bench, taking a half dozen strides to get there. Wideman also demonstrates his continued awareness of his circumstances and surroundings when, upon approaching the Calgary blueline, he raises his stick and taps it on the ice to alert his teammates that he’s coming off for a line change.”

The hit Wideman took — delivered by Nashville’s Miikka Salomaki — was judged to be a “hard, legal check.”

It should be mentioned that 1) there’s been no confirmation that Wideman’s injury was a direct result of the Salomaki collision, and 2) the league made mention of the fact Wideman refused medical attention while on the bench, and remained in the game.

The video:

Related:

NHLPA ‘strongly’ disagrees with Wideman suspension, will appeal

Yzerman, Chelios, Larionov, Hejduk added to Avs-Wings alumni game

Steve Yzerman
Getty Images
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One of the greatest rivalries in NHL history will have plenty of familiar faces on hand later this month, when the Red Wings and Avalanche alumni meet ahead of the Feb. 27 outdoor game in Colorado.

More, from the NHL:

Detroit has added Steve Yzerman, Chris Chelios, Darren McCarty, Igor Larionov, Ty Conklin, Manny Legace, Mathieu Dandenault and Mike Knuble to their roster.

Colorado has added Milan Hejduk, Dan Hinote, Valeri Kamensky, Mike Keane, Jon Klemm, Eric Messier and Shjon Podein to their roster.

The full, updated rosters:

AvsWings

The alumni contest will take place on Friday, Feb. 26 at 5 p.m. MT. The game will consist of three 20-minute periods (running time) and two
12-minute intermissions.

WATCH LIVE: Detroit at Tampa Bay

Henrik Zetterberg, Steven Stamkos
Getty Images

Tonight, the Red Wings will look to continue their mastery of the Lightning this season as the two tangle at Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay. You can catch the game on NBCSN starting at 8 p.m. ET, or watch live online using NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH ONLINE

Some relevant linkage for tonight’s affair:

Goalie nods: Marquee matchup in Tampa as Mrazek faces Bishop

Martin Brodeur believes Lightning’s Bishop is an elite goalie

Stamkos won’t deny it — contract situation’s ‘in your head, for sure’

Datsyuk calls on Wings for more offense — ‘it would be a much easier game’

Larkin wins fastest skater, breaks Gartner’s 20-year-old record

 

NHLPA ‘strongly’ disagrees with Wideman suspension, will appeal

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As many predicted in the wake of Dennis Wideman’s 20-game suspension for hitting linesman Don Henderson, the National Hockey League Players’ Association is appealing Wideman’s ban.

From a union release:

“We strongly disagree with the League’s decision to suspend Dennis Wideman.  Dennis has played in 11 NHL seasons and almost 800 games without incident. 

“The facts, including the medical evidence presented at the hearing, clearly demonstrate that Dennis had no intention to make contact with the linesman. 

“An appeal has been filed on the player’s behalf.”

The incident, which occurred during Calgary’s last game before the All-Star break, has been the topic of heavy debate for over a week. Wideman insisted in the aftermath he collided with Henderson accidentally, and had no intention of trying to hurt him.

Wideman also said he apologized to Henderson at the time of the incident.

Prior to delivering what looked to be a cross-check on the veteran official, Wideman was hit hard by Nashville’s Miikka Salomaki. The Flames defenseman didn’t leave the bench, though, and didn’t undergo any concussion-related protocol, opting to stay in the game.

That decision has come under scrutiny, as some believe Wideman was shaken up on the Salomaki hit and “foggy” upon hitting Henderson. (It’s quite feasible this what the PA’s referring to with “medical evidence presented at the hearing.”)

“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 at the time. “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.”

As for the appeal, there is a recent precedent with regards to this type of situation. During the 2014 playoffs, then-Rangers forward Dan Carcillo got his 10-game ban for “deliberately applying physical force to an official” reduced to six games.