Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman is facing a lengthy suspension after appearing to intentionally cross-check an official from behind during the Flames’ 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators.
The incident came in the second period after Wideman was checked into the boards and no foul was called.
Wideman got up from the hit slowly and starts skating towards the Flames’ bench. Referee Don Henderson is skating backwards and watching the play up the ice when Wideman extends his stick and hits Henderson from behind, sending him to the ice.
Henderson was on the ice for several moments before getting up and continuing the game. No penalty was given to Wideman for the hit.
After the game, Wideman said the hit was not intentional, saying he didn’t see Henderson until the last second and that he “couldn’t avoid it.”
“I took a pretty hard hit down in the corner,” Wideman told the media. “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 apologised 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.”
If the hit is deemed intentional, the minimum penalty will be a 20-game suspension. Here is the rule, via ESPN.
What is going to hurt Wideman’s defence — besides the ugly nature of the hit itself — is that he doesn’t seem to react or show any remorse in the moments after the hit.
After striking Henderson, Wideman continues on to the bench without checking to see if Henderson is OK. Later, on the bench, Wideman appears to be discussing the incident with a teammate and appears to shrug it off as if he doesn’t care (via ESPN and Fox Sports).
Not a good look for Wideman and it is probably safe to assume that the NHL will come down hard.
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