Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman was suspended 20 games on Wednesday for cross-checking an official, per USA Today Sports' Jimmy Hascup, but he reportedly suffered a concussion in the same game.
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Wideman's Concussion May Have Occurred Before Hitting Linesman
Wednesday, Feb. 3
According to NHL on NBC, the league confirmed Wideman suffered a concussion. Mike Halford of NBC Sports' Pro Hockey Talk added the defenseman “potentially suffered” the concussion “on a hit he took moments before colliding” with the official.
Halford passed along the NHL’s explanation for the suspension despite the concussion:
It is accepted for the purposes of this decision that he was later diagnosed as having suffered a concussion. However, that fact even accepted as true, cannot excuse Wideman’s subsequent actions.
First, although he appears to get up slowly from being checked, Wideman skates steadily and purposefully to his bench, taking a half dozen strides to get there. Wideman also demonstrates his continued awareness of his circumstances and surroundings when, upon approaching the Calgary blueline, he raises his stick and taps it on the ice to alert his teammates that he’s coming off for a line change.
The league suspended Wideman because he checked linesman Don Henderson during Calgary’s 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators on Jan. 27. However, the incident occurred after Nashville forward Miikka Salomaki hit Wideman hard into the boards. Wideman was skating back to the bench following the initial hit when he checked Henderson.
Halford made sure to note there was “no confirmation that Wideman’s injury was a direct result of the Salomaki collision,” and the league pointed out Wideman remained in the game and even refused medical attention after the hit.
Here is a look at the check that led to the suspension, per NBC Sports:
Wideman has two goals and 17 assists for 19 points this season. While he was solid last year with 56 points and a plus/minus rating of six, he has struggled this season to establish himself as a consistent force and boasts a plus/minus rating of minus-nine.
As of Wednesday, the Flames were 11 points behind Nashville for a playoff spot in the Western Conference and will have to rely on Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie and Dougie Hamilton even more on the defensive side of the ice until Wideman returns from his concussion and suspension.