The talk of the arena – and social media – following Calgary’s 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators was a late second period collision between Flames defender Dennis Wideman and linesman Don Henderson.
The big question: Will Wideman face discipline from the National Hockey League for the incident?
Here’s the relevant section (Section 40) of the NHL rulebook as it regards to abuse of officials:
So there’s a two-pronged test:
- Did Wideman intend to injure the official?
- Did Wideman deliberately apply physical force to the official?
The answer to the first question is definitely no. And if you watch the video, while Wideman definitely could’ve avoided contact with the linesman, it’s hard to argue that there’s “deliberate physical force.”
Here’s what Wideman and Flames head coach Bob Hartley had to say about it after the game.
Obviously I took a pretty hard hit down in the corner, had some pretty good pain in my shoulder and my neck, and I was just trying to get off the ice. And I was kind of keeled over and at the last second I looked up and I saw him, and 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 away from him. -Dennis Wideman
We all know Wides. Wides is the greatest guy. He’s not an aggressive person of any nature. I saw him get hit in the corner, and I saw him favour his shoulder, but then the play was moving so I kind of lost track of him. It’s just like a bad accident. -Bob Hartley
I figure it’s likely that Wideman gets fined, but by the letter of the NHL rulebook, it’ll be tough to justify a suspension.