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.