Mike Halford

Henrik Zetterberg, Steven Stamkos
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WATCH LIVE: Detroit at Tampa Bay

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

 

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    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.

    Video: Goals of the Week — All-Star edition

    John Scott was the story, sure, but he wasn’t the only cool thing to come from the 2016 NHL All-Star Game in Nashville.

    Check out this latest installment of Goals of the Week for all the best.

    Goalie nods: Marquee matchup in Tampa, as Mrazek faces Bishop

    Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop looks at the ice after allowing a goal by Detroit Red Wings' Gustav Nyquist in the second period of an NHL hockey game in Detroit, Saturday, March 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

    There should be some high quality netminding on display tonight in Tampa Bay when the Bolts host the Red Wings.

    Detroit will start Petr Mrazek, who was on fire going into the All-Star break. He went 7-1-1 in January with a 1.32 GAA and .952 save percentage, catapulting himself into Vezina consideration while further bolting Jimmy Howard to the pine.

    On the year, Mrazek sits second in the NHL in save percentage (.932), third in GAA (2.03) and 10th in shutouts (three) — numbers that put him on par with the guy he’s facing tonight, Ben Bishop.

    Fresh off a good showing at the All-Star Game, Bishop will look to build upon his Vezina resume. He sits second in GAA (.202), 10th in save percentage (.926) and 10th in wins (19).

    Bishop has largely been the Lightning’s MVP this season, and will now look to beat Detroit for the first time this season.

    Elsewhere…

    Robin Lehner gets the start for Buffalo in Montreal. The Habs, coming off a tough loss in Philly last night, haven’t named a starter yet. Mike Condon stopped 32 of 35 shots against the Flyers on Tuesday.

    Eddie Lack, who went into the All-Star break by shutting out the Chicago Blackhawks, will be back in goal when the ‘Canes take on Calgary. Karri Ramo will counter for the host Flames.

    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.