While Dennis Wideman awaits news regarding the NHL’s interest in vacating the arbitrator’s decision to reduce his suspension from 20 games to 10 games, the linesman that he hit could be waiting on much worse news. On Saturday, it was announced that Don Henderson – the NHL linesman on the receiving end of the Wideman hit – could be facing an early retirement after having back surgery to repair some of the damage from the hit.
The surgery, according to Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe, was to repair “two ruptured disks in his neck. Dupont went on to say that one of Henderson’s colleague mentioned that because of the surgery, the 47-year-old linesman’s career could be over.
Henderson was diagnosed with a concussion following the January 27 incident. The arbitrator who reduced Wideman’s suspension noted that there was not sufficient evidence to back up the allegations that the Flames’ defenceman deliberately hit Henderson.
Henderson, however, hasn’t officiated a game since being cross checked by Wideman. A 21-year NHL veteran, Henderson’s hit the ice in nearly 1,300 games including the playoffs. While both Wideman and Henderson await different conclusions, this is surely not the end of this long, drawn out saga.