Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman’s 20-game suspension for blindsiding a linesman last month was upheld on appeal by commissioner Gary Bettman, the NHL announced Wednesday.
The appeal hearing, which was conducted last Wednesday, reportedly lasted seven hours.
Wideman was given a 20-game suspension for a blindside cross-check on linesman Don Henderson during a Jan. 27 game against Nashville. He was diagnosed with a concussion after the game and the players’ union argued in its appeal that the injury played a factor in the incident. Bettman rejected that argument.
The NHL Players' Association announced they will appeal the decision to neutral arbitrator James Oldham.
“We are extremely disappointed but not surprised that Gary Bettman upheld the decision of his staff to suspend Dennis Wideman for 20 games,” the NHLPA said in a statement. “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 apologized to Henderson through the media after the suspension was handed down, but said he was disappointed with the NHL’s decision and the length of his suspension.
Wideman, 32, is in his fourth season with the Flames. He has two goals and 17 assists in 48 games this season and has averaged the fourth-most time on the ice of any Calgary skater. He has already served seven games of the suspension.