Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner, has upheld a 20 game suspension that was handed to Dennis Wideman of the Calgary Flames for cross-checking linesman Don Henderson. Bettman was “troubled” by his “failure to accept responsibility for his actions.”
Wideman sent text msg to teammate on Feb. 2: "(t)he only problem and the only reason I'm here is cause the stupid refs and stupid media."
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) February 17, 2016
Calgary Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke was not pleased with the decision.
“We disagree vehemently with the decision that was reached here. We were astonished by it, we don’t understand it, we disagree with it completely.”
The NHLPA will appeal the ruling.
“We are extremely disappointed but not surprised that Gary Bettman upheld the decision of his staff to suspend Dennis Wideman for 20 games,” the statement from the players’ association reads. “This decision completely ignores the effects of the concussion that Dennis sustained when he was driven into the boards eight seconds before colliding with the linesman. We will appeal to the Neutral Discipline Arbitrator in order to have this decision overturned.”
Wideman hit Henderson into the boards from behind while skating to the bench during a game against the Predators on Jan. 27. Henderson was sent to hospital for precautionary reasons after the hit and has not refereed since.
Linesman Don Henderson, injured in the Wideman case, hasn't worked a game since the incident. Continuing to follow concussion protocol.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 18, 2016
Here’s a video of the hit that resulted in the 20-game suspension.