Dennis Wideman‘s ongoing travails with his suspension have a date for the commencement of stage two. Wideman’s appeal hearing will be held by the league on Wednesday in New York, according to the NHLPA.
Wideman was recently suspended 20 games for hitting lineman Don Henderson in a game against the Nashville Predators on January 20.
The 20-game suspension is the minimum under rule 40.2 that indicates that the league believes there was intent to injure the ref. If there’s no intent to injure the league could use rule 40.1, which carries a minimum of just 10 games. At play: a powerful officials union that wants to see a strong suspension, the team insisting that Wideman was concussed and the knowledge that the Flames and Wideman are able to appeal once more after this.
This appeal is heard by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Wideman will have the opportunity to appeal to an independent arbitrator should Bettman not reduce the suspension to six or fewer games, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun. The risk there for the team is that the arbitrator is allowed to increase the length of the suspension as well as reduce it.
Wideman has publicly apologized to Henderson, who suffered a concussion on the play and has not yet been able to return to work. Yet, Wideman maintains that the collision was an accident. The Flames plan on bringing in medical experts to assert that Wideman had no intent of injuring Henderson and was dazed from a concussion.
The concussion may be the source of another headache for the team, since the Flames did not follow concussion protocol with Wideman, allowing him to finish the game despite NHL concussion spotters flagging him.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.