Flames' Dennis Wideman suspended pending hearing

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman, who cross-checked a linesman during his team's home loss to Nashville on Wednesday,has been suspended pending a hearing with the NHL next week.

Wideman will attend the Tuesday hearing, a source told ESPN's Scott Burnside. Wideman's suspension was announced by the league Thursday.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, speaking in Nashville ahead of this weekend's All-Star festivities, said Wideman would face the league's standard disciplinary process.

"I may ultimately have to be in a position of making a judgment here, and I try to never prejudge things," Bettman told WKRN. "There is a process that we will go through, and ultimately, we'll get to the right place."

Wideman had just taken a hit from Nashville winger Miikka Salomaki and was skating toward the Flames' bench when he leveled linesman Don Henderson from behind, sending Henderson to the ice and against the boards. Wideman said the hit was unintentional. He was not penalized.

Wideman said after the game that he was distracted after the Salomaki hit and unintentionally collided with Henderson.

"I took a pretty good hit down in the corner and had some pretty good pain in my shoulder and neck," Wideman said. "I was just trying to get off the ice and kind of keeled over. At the last second, I looked up and saw [Henderson] and 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 and how to get out of the way. I've been around for a few years, and I think I've treated every official with the utmost respect, and I would never intentionally try to hit a linesman or a ref. It was completely unintentional, and I already apologized to him."

At the next stoppage, Wideman skated over to where the officials were gathered and apologized.

Wideman, 32, is in his fourth season with the Flames and 11th in the NHL. He is second on the team in penalty minutes with 30 and has two goals and 19 points this season.

Most physical contact between players and officials has occurred when officials have been trying to break up fights among players. In the 2014 Eastern Conference finals, New York Rangers left wing Dan Carcillo elbowed linesman Steve Driscoll while Driscoll was trying to keep Carcillo away from Montreal Canadiens forward Brandon Prust. Carcillo was assessed a game misconduct penalty and suspended 10 games.

In April 2002, Tampa Bay Lightning winger Andre Roy left the penalty box and made contact with a linesman who was trying to stop him from resuming a fight with the Rangers' Sandy McCarthy. Roy was suspended three games for physical abuse of an official and 10 games for leaving the penalty box.

Some officials have been more than collateral damage. In September 2000, Lightning winger Gordie Dwyer "applied physical force," per the NHL, to linesman David Brisebois during a fight with Joe Murphy and Joe Reekie of the Washington Capitals, then left the penalty box and pulled referee Mark Faucette to the ice as he tried to go after Reekie again. Dwyer was suspended 10 games for physical abuse of officials, 10 games for leaving the penalty box and three games for three game-misconduct penalties.

Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Curtis Joseph was given a misconduct penalty but not suspended in 2000 after he tried to confront referee Mick McGeough about a controversial goal and slipped and took out McGeough's legs. However, Chicago Blackhawks center Tom Lysiak was suspended 20 games, among the longest bans in NHL history, for intentionally tripping linesman Ron Foyt in 1983.

Among the most notable on-ice incidents between players and officials were those involving Maurice "The Rocket" Richard and Billy Coutu.

On March 13, 1955, Richard, a Canadiens winger, was on the receiving end of a high stick from Boston Bruins defenseman Hal Laycoe. Richard went after Laycoe and punched linesman Cliff Thompson, who was trying to break things up. NHL president Clarence Campbell suspended Richard for the rest of the season. When Campbell showed up at a Canadiens game four days later, it sparked "The Richard Riot" on the streets of Montreal, causing an estimated $100,000 damage and leading to arrests and injuries.

In the 1927 Stanley Cup finals, Coutu, a defenseman for the Bruins, punched a referee and tackled another during a bench-clearing brawl. He received a lifetime ban and was fined $100. His ban later was reduced to 2 years, but he never played again.

The All-Star Game is Sunday, and regular-season games resume Tuesday.

ESPN's Stats & Information contributed to this report.

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