Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman checked linesman Don Henderson into the boards Wednesday during his team's game against the Nashville Predators, via NBCSN:
Wideman was leaving the ice after taking a hit when the check happened. While announcers questioned whether it was intentional, the Nashville bench certainly seemed to think so.
Darren Dreger of TSN reported Wideman has been suspended indefinitely pending a hearing that will take place after the All-Star Game.
Dreger reported Henderson was in the hospital "for precautionary reasons" but is home now.
Doug Dirks of CBC Radio wondered if the shot Wideman absorbed before the check had anything to do with his actions:
Doug Dirks @cbcDougDirks
Wow. Dennis Wideman just high sticked linesman Don Henderson on the way to @NHLFlames bench. Being woozy prevents Wideman penalty?2016-1-28 03:54:20
Wideman addressed the incident after the game, and while he didn't mention anything about the hit prior to that, he did say it was unintentional, per Postmedia's Kristen Odland:
Kristen Odland @Kristen_Odland
Dennis Wideman on hitting linesman Don Henderson: “I was just trying to get off the ice. And, at the last second, I looked up and saw him."2016-1-28 05:27:03
Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News wasn't buying it:
Pat Leonard @PLeonardNYDN
What in the world was Dennis Wideman doing smoking that linesman? No reasonable explanation for that #Flames #NHL2016-1-28 04:44:41
The 32-year-old Wideman, who has accumulated 369 career points, has the second-most penalty minutes of any Flames player this year. Despite not being penalized for the hit, if it's determined the act was intentional, he would serve a minimum suspension of 20 games for "deliberately attempting to injure an official," per ESPN.com news services.
There is no way to know for sure if Wideman, in his fourth season with Calgary, hit the linesman on purpose, but the video isn't doing him any favors.
He leaned into him and did not appear to try to restrain himself or show remorse after initiating contact, instead continuing in stride to the bench. It's all or nothing when it comes to physically engaging with an official, and Wideman is going to have to make a compelling case to avoid missing the next 20 games.