Dennis Wideman suspended indefinitely, to have hearing post-All Star Break

During the second period of the Calgary Flames’ matchup against the Nashville Predators, Dennis Wideman took a hit from Miikka Salomaki. Wideman appeared stunned from the play, and attempted to skate back to his bench. On his way, he ended up crosschecking linesman Don Henderson: an action that could see him suspended, as per section 40 of the NHL rulebook.

There are a lot of wrinkles to this story. Wideman may or may not have been fully aware of his actions at the time of his crosscheck. Said crosscheck ultimately sent Henderson to the hospital. And it was the final game before the All-Star Break, meaning everyone is, well, on break.

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As a result, Wideman has been suspended indefinitely, pending a hearing to be conducted following the All-Star Break.

Honestly, in the immediate, this means absolutely nothing. The Flames don’t play again until Wednesday, Feb. 3, when they host the Carolina Hurricanes. Wideman wasn’t going to be seeing any ice time before then regardless, so his being suspended for the time being is of no consequence in the present.

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It will, however, be of consequence in the near future. What I gather from all of this is the NHL, like us, doesn’t have a definitive answer for just what happened, and thus, they’ll need time to figure everything out. The timing of the All-Star Break just further pushes things back, as typical NHL actions have ceased while the league gathers in Nashville.

Basically, this indefinite suspension is a message: “We haven’t forgotten about this, but we have other things to tend to at the moment.” 

All-Star festivities end on Jan. 31, leaving two full days in between it and the Flames’ return to the ice, which should give the Flames enough time to prepare for what the league’s ultimate decision is. A hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 2 allows them to prepare their lineup for their first game back the following day.

Here’s the relevant passage of the NHL rulebook regarding abuse of officials:

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Section 40.4 likely won’t apply to Wideman, considering his actions resulted in physical contact that injured an official, rather than anything demeaning or threatening. This means we’re likely looking at 10-20 games for Wideman, per sections 40.2 and 40.3, as Wideman did cause physical injury, with the only question left to answer being if he intended to do so.

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Considering the hit he took prior to contacting Henderson, as well as his own statement of apology and denying intent, it seems Wideman would fall under section 40.3 in regards to disciplinary action. Here’s Kerry Fraser’s in-depth take on the event, in which he details why Wideman may not be completely at fault – and why he could bypass the punishment section 40.2 lays out.

It’s our understanding that Wideman will remain on the Flames’ cap and roster while serving any suspension he may have incurred, which would limit the Flames to six defencemen, and likely a Ladislav Smid – Deryk Engelland bottom pairing over that time. If suspended for 10 games, Wideman would be eligible to return on Feb. 23 against the Los Angeles Kings – six days before the NHL trade deadline.


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So… is it time for the NHL Wheel of Justice? Who even knows how long he may be gone for, now.

His hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, so let the speculation run rampant for the next five days.

  • CMG30

    After watching the video of the hit several times I can’t see how this wasn’t a deliberate hit.

    Now, I can see the argument where he may have been woozie and concussed after the hit in the corner. Perhaps he was messed up enough that he confused the ref with a Nashville player or maybe he was just angry. We’ll never really know what was in his head at the time. But the video doesn’t lie, he deliberately hit a ref. I have no doubt that NHL will hand down a stiff suspension.

    • Bean-counting cowboy

      This… a million times.

      The minute we start to try and get into people’s brains to justify their behavior and avoid punishment is when we start to walk a slippery slope.

      It’s like the insanity plea getting a murderer off… always bugged me. The FACT remains the murderer still killed someone whose family will never get them back.

  • RedMan

    Dear Mr. Wideman

    I am a die hard Flames fan born in Calgary almost 60 years ago. I am proud of my team and my city. Today you embarrassed both a class organization and a great city….I am not jealous of the inordinate amount of money you have made in your career and the fact the you, your children and grandchildren will have no financial worries ever but I am concerned at your lack of judgement in what I characterize as an attack on an individual who had his back to you. Your gutless sucker attack could have seriously injured an individual who is trying to make an honest living and earns a fraction of what you have and will make in your career. You did not even have the decency to turn around and see if he was seriously injured…can you imaging his wife and children that may have been viewing the game??

    Shame on you Mr. Wideman…you best be on your way! As a Flames fan I certainly do not want you to represent my team or proud city…your a coward!

  • The GREAT Walter White

    As the worlds greatest Flames fan, I would not be upset if he was suspended for the rest of the season.

    Give the kids a chance. Possibly lose a few more games. Keep Wideman healthy so we can trade him next year.

    It’s all good.


    • McRib

      No one knows what he was doing only himself, but you know who knows the absolute least on this situation, you! As someone who has had 15-20 Concussions in their life and has spent the last five years trying to get over the long-term implications of them, it looks all to familiar and is rather insulting to hear you go off all day about them.. Whether you refuse to believe it or not. Concussions are so misunderstood in our society that I am glad this has brought them to light, despite people like you who try to disregard the importance of positive discussion about them.

      The fact that Dennis Wideman has NEVER done anything even close to this to anyone in a long career makes me side with him, like any rational person would and suggests other factors at play. The craziest thing about it all is someone like you with next to no experience of concussions is getting more likes on this situation, over multiple people who have been there and experienced it first hand on this page (goes to show how many bitter Oilers fans their are). Honestly to have someone like you on here completely disregard the possibility of a Concussion is rather damaging. Lets remember cases where players like Rick Rypen took their lives because of depression (what caused the depression!?!). You couldn’t be more misguided on concussions and I hope no one you know ever has one because it is a very underfunded science and often ignored by sceptics like yourself. I know people who have considered suicide over them and you have the audacity to sit here without any knowledge of them and disregard them entirely?!?!? Honestly I think it’s time for you to go drink the David Staples homer Kool-Aid some more!!! All day you have just repeated what he has been blindly saying the past 24 hours.

  • TRAIN#97

    Trying to be objective as a fan of your rivals my thoughts are that Wideman has always come across as a pretty good guy. I don’t recall him ever being dirty or malicious in the way he plays and I don’t think he has ever been suspended before. He still needs to accept some responsibility for a reckless hit on a linesman who didn’t have a chance. Hope both men are ok but time to move on with this story.

  • Rockmorton65

    A big thank you to all the Oiler trolls that regularly post on FN with you insulting posts or delusions of grandeur of that team. Can count on you for un-biased righteous indignation about a Flames player hitting a ref. Will await the next Flames story on FN for you to come back with more drivel about your team or trolling of the Flames.

    For those Flames fans, it’s good to have this kind of discussion. Abuse of an official is serious, whether that be Kassian, Lucic, or Wideman (if in fact that was the intent or how it transpired).

    All we can hope for is that the NHL gets this right for a change. Some players get passes for rule violations, while others pay the price. The headline hungry mainstream media and instant gratification people want blood. Just make a proper determination of the facts and rule accordingly, not use it as a way to push an agenda.

    • McRib

      I can’t even stand being on this site anymore they have completely driven me away, Oilers trolls out number Flames fans 2-1 late at night, it’s insanity!!!!. The sad thing is they are the David Staples loving Oilers fans!!

      I actually feel sad, how unsatisfied do you have to be with your team that you have to make everyone else miserable, everyday all day on every article {I frequently read Oilers Nation (Lowetide, Willis, etc are great) and think I have seen one Flames troll in 3+ years}!! Of all the people to still have a job with post media it’s homer/redneck David Staples that hangs on to a job to further propitiate the Edmonton/Calgary HATE…. Mind-boggling, I’ll honestly never read a post media paper again!!

      I’m a third generation Calgarian and have been to Edmonton twice in my life (visited High School friends at U of A and went to West Ed Mall once), my Dad lived there for five years before I was born and has never been back. Hahah. If bitter Oilers fans weren’t screaming at me all day long my whole life saying how much they HATE the Flames (or him when he lived there, they were the best team in the league when he lived there and they were still picking fights daily with him), maybe I would have taken the three hour drive more often.

      I don’t hate Oilers fans I kind of always felt sorry for them, must be the lack of Chinooks making them so angry…. Go on a TSN article about the Flames and look in the comments section, it’s just all Oilers fans saying they HATE the Flames… Sad I don’t hate anyone. It’s like if they don’t shout or argue at/with us we won’t know they exist. It’s funny they are the complete opposite of Vancouver fans, who think they are the best team in the league every year. Even when they are scraping to make the playoffs because they only follow the one team and know nothing else about Hockey. Oilers fans are passionate for better or for worse that’s for sure, I actually still have more respect for them over Canucks fans, but wish they would just all go back to talking about McDavid! Not how much they HATE!!!! Flames fans!!!!! Dear Edmonton fans stop being so insufferable your team is doing better, McDavid is coming back!!

  • TRAIN#97

    As someone who has been recovering from a serious concussion for the last 4 years from a sports injury, I can personally tell you after the injury you may not have any idea what you are doing. At which point your training and instincts kick in. Players are trained to protect themselves (hence how he pushes) while on the ice. Watch his body and eyes, he’s not there. It’s reactionary. If you don’t believe me, read the literature on the subject or watch an MMA/Boxing match. Rocked competitors still fight because of the training. It’s instinct at that point.

    Next part. People say he wasn’t suffering a concussion because he said he was fine. Self diagnosis is unreliable and a doctor is required to make that judgement. Many athletes refuse to admit they have sustained a head injury, it’s a very serious issue in sports. There is a ton of literature on the subject.

    The real issue should be why concussion protocols were not followed. He shouldn’t have played anymore of the game. The judgement is not on the player whether he feels fine when a concussion is suspected. A qualified person has to make that judgment, as discussed prior.

    I’m seriously surprised people think he just decided to go Hulk on the ref, for any reason.

  • McRib

    This is being blown way out of proportion. There is no way Dennis Wideman did that deliberately. He had his bell rung, looked up, and thought he had to protect himself. Everything was probably a blur to him. It’s ridiculous for anyone to be considering discipline for this incident.

    • slapshot444

      Well noted, short, concise and very likely the closest to the truth post on this tread. It amazes me to see all the holier than thou posters proclaiming the death sentence from their own interpretation of a video clip.
      Players don’t suddenly turn into goons in a split moment of pain on the ice after years of clean play. For what reason would any player in the history of the NHL cross check a linesman to the ice. In fact in the league’s history there is only one instance I can find, a few shoves here and there after an altercation but never like what the video shows as intentional.
      Also to note, if you’ve never been checked by an NHL player you don’t know the immense strength they can have. Most of them could push an mere mortal like me inside a fridge with one hand. (I did experience that once when misbehaving at a party) So hitting even a tough guy like Don Henderson by surprise will look as it did on video.
      This instance says to me far more about concussion protocol ( or lack there of ) than anything else.

  • Skuehler

    Just my 2 cents…the replay does seem to clearly demonstrate intent. Either way, whether Wideman hit the ref due to a comcussion, or out of frustration and anger over the non call, this situation is a worst case scenario of what happens when the refs dont patrol the game properly. If a penatly is called on that play, no way Wideman hits the ref. Not condoning what happened, just saying the refs are there to enforce the rules. When they dont, ugly things can happen in a fast and physical sport where emtions can quickly overcome your better judgement.

    While Wideman needs to be held accountable for his actions, there may be a few others involved who played a role in the mess.

  • Skuehler

    Wideman deserves 10 games. Stop wearing your rose color glasses Pike. Making excuses that he was concussed and yet he stayed on the bench and not missing a shift. Optics would not look good for the league and the Officials union if nothing is done.

    • TRAIN#97

      Just read an article on and former refs all say that cross check was one of the most deliberate things they have ever seen. Last word on this. 20 games.

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    It is crazy to see the reaction to this. Wideman has never had a prior incident to this. Has never really been painted as a goon or someone who takes a lot of cheap shots yet he has one accident (yes I believe it is an accident regardless of if he saw him or not. He made a mistake) and everyone is painting him as some crazy goon who is going to go out there and end some careers. I wish the linesman a speedy recovery and hope everything is alright but the handling of this situation is on the training staff’s shoulders as well. Both were experiencing concussion like symptoms yet everyone stayed on the ice. That should have been dealt with right away.

    Also, not a huge fan of Wideman, if he misses some games then he misses some games. I don’t care either way. It means more PP time for Hamilton and that is awesome but everyone making him out to be some crazy villain and acting as if he went at him with a machete or something needs to just relax a bit.

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    Posted this on the Preds post-game Embers, but here it is again:

    He’s got to play it like he was just surprised and caught off guard, and be willing to take whatever the league gives him for it.

    If he says that he was dazed, then the team should have followed the concussion protocols. But they didn’t and should then be investigated for not looking out for player safety. Is Wideman really looking to be the guy that gets a franchise in trouble for this? He’d have to consider his next contract and whether or not any team would be willing to pay “that” guy. He could also try to be a hero and force the concussion issue to be further investigated and enforced by the league, but like most everyone else, he might choose to wait until he’s retired to do that. Again, IF he says he was dazed.

    The 3rd option is that he got all WIDEMAN SMASH, but that’s not going to happen.

  • TRAIN#97

    Looked at the hit several times. You don’t know where he is looking. Even though his head is up. His eyes might be down. Now their is two things on the video that struck me. 1. He slaps his stick on the ice. That means line change. He was in a frame of mind that he was playing hockey and he knew where the bench was. 2. The push off. He could have hugged the linesman or could have pulled him up afterwards. When he does get suspended it will be good for the team since we will bring up a Kulak or wotherspoon and they will get a chance to play and steal his spot