In Wednesday night’s 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators, Calgary Flames defensemanDennis Wideman laid a heavy check on unsuspecting linesman, Don Henderson.
The video below shows Wideman taking a big hit from Nashville’s Miikka Salomaki, appearing dazed and then heading to the Calgary bench, before suddenly raising his stick to hit down the 47-year-old ref – video courtesy of Sportsnet.
Wideman defends his actions
A penalty wasn’t given for the incident, and the Calgary blue-liner has since defended his actions. Business Insider UK reports a post-match interview in which Wideman claims: "I took a pretty hard hit down in the corner.
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"I had some pretty good pain in my shoulder, my neck. I was just trying to get off the ice. I was kind of keeled over and at the last second I looked up and saw him.
“I couldn't avoid it. I went up to Donnie and apologized to him on the ice. I didn't see him. I didn't know where to go or how to get out of the way of him."
Sportsnet has confirmed that, during the next television timeout, Wideman did approach Henderson and apologise for the check.
If the NHL deems the hit to be intentional, which it certainly looks to be in the video, then – in accordance to NHL Rule 40.2, Automatic Suspension, Category I – Wideman will face a minimum suspension of 20 games.
The Flames defender may try to rely on his only mitigating factor – that he was somewhat disorientated after the Salomaki hit – but given that he showed zero remorse at the time of the incident, Wideman is looking at a much lengthier suspension than just 20 games.
Dennis Wideman has been playing on Calgary's third line of defence and has two goals and 17 points this season.