Dennis Wideman has had his suspension for hitting linesman Don Henderson from behind reduced from 20 games to 10.
The one, big thing about that? Wideman has already missed 19 games waiting for the appeals process to play out.
At the very least, the Flames’ defenseman will get back half of the $564,516 he was slated to forfeit in salary.
Wideman’s suspension — which was upheld by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman upon first appeal — was reduced on second appeal by neutral arbitrator James Oldham.
Click here to read Oldham’s opinion. The following is his final decision:
Here are the two rules to which Oldham referred, the difference being “intent to injure.”
The NHL has released the following statement:
“We are in receipt of Arbitrator James Oldham’s Opinion in the appeal of Dennis Wideman’s supplementary discipline suspension and reducing the suspension from 20 to 10 games. We strenuously disagree with the Arbitrator’s ruling and are reviewing the Opinion in detail to determine what next steps may be appropriate. We will have no further comment until we have completed our review. In light of and in response to Arbitrator Oldham’s Opinion, Mr. Wideman will be reinstated and will be eligible to participate in his team’s games, effective immediately.”
And here’s the NHLPA’s statement:
“Given that it was undisputed that Dennis suffered a concussion mere seconds prior to his collision with linesman Don Henderson, we felt strongly that there should have been no discipline. Nonetheless we are pleased that Arbitrator Oldham found that the collision was not intentional and that the suspension was reduced to 10 games. We respect the process and the decision and we look forward to Dennis returning to the ice tonight with his teammates.”
Related: Burke blasts Bettman for ‘incomprehensible’ time it took for Wideman ruling