NHL Officials’ Association ‘strongly disagrees’ with the decision to reduce Wideman’s suspension

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Dennis Wideman was understandably excited about being able to return to action last night, but you can understand why the NHL’s Officials’ Association doesn’t feel the same way.

“The NHLOA strongly disagrees with the arbitrator’s decision to reduce Dennis Wideman’s suspension to 10 games while linesman Don Henderson continues to recover from an injury inflicted by the player that will sideline him for the rest of the season.”

Wideman, who was originally given a 20-game suspension for hitting linesman Don Henderson, had his suspension reduced to 10 games even though he sat out 19 contests in all. The 32-year-old played 18 minutes in yesterday’s loss to the Arizona Coyotes.

The Flames defenseman continues to insist that the incident was an accident.

“First and foremost, I just want to wish Donnie Henderson a speedy recovery. I realize that he’s still working through his injuries and trying to make his way back and I hope to see him back out on the ice as soon as possible,” Wideman said, per the Associated Press. “As far as the ruling goes, I’m happy it was reduced to 10 games. I still maintain that it was completely accidental and I had no intent on hitting Donnie at all.”

The officials don’t buy it.

Here’s the full statement from NHLOA: