The NHL saw Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman suspended for 20 games following his cross-check of linesman Don Henderson just ahead of the 2016 All Star Games – but now, he’s seeing his suspension reduced by half.
After the 20 game suspension was upheld by the NHL’s appeals system, Wideman and the NHLPA took the suspension to an independent arbitrator earlier last month. The process has been lengthy, and Wideman has already served 19 of his 20 games leading up to the arbitrator’s verdict – but a solution has finally been reached, and the case is now closed.
Since Wideman has already missed nine additional games that the independent arbitrator took off the end of his suspension, the blue liner – who boasts two goals and 19 points over his 48 games this season ahead of the suspension – will see the games re-awarded from a financial standpoint only. This means he’ll be financially compensated for the ten games re-awarded to him, despite having missed out on playing in nine of them.
The biggest argument that had been presented by the NHLPA was that Wideman – who had been the recipient of a hard hit by Nashville Predators forward Mikka Salomaki just ahead of his collision with Henderson – had been concussed, and therefore wasn’t able to fully discern what was happening when he made contact with the official.
Based on the lowering of the suspension, it’s likely that the arbitrator either concurs with this argument at least somewhat, or accepts Wideman’s explanation that he wasn’t intending to make contact with Henderson – he had been so focused on getting off the ice that he didn’t see the linesman until it was too late, and had nowhere else to go.
With the confirmation that Wideman’s suspension has been reduced, he is now available to play for the Flames later this evening against the Arizona Coyotes.