Friday, January 29, 2016

Linesman Collision Costs Wideman

The notion of the suspension for Dennis Wideman dropped on Thursday, as the NHL said that the Flames' veteran defenseman was suspended indefinitely for his part in a collision with a linesman in the team's final game before the All-Star break on Wednesday night against the Predators.

The indefinite suspension was a precursor to the actual finite suspension that Wideman will be given, upon his hearing on Tuesday, after the All-Star weekend concludes.  The speculated lengths of the suspension have been ranging between 5-to-20 games, not including what may or may not happen with an appeal of the incident from the player and the union.

It is difficult to speculate what kind of impact that this suspension will have, given that the length of it has not been determined, but with 34 games left on the Flames schedule and four weeks until the trade deadline, there could be a significant impact to the team this season.

In 48 games played this year, Wideman ranks 267th overall in pool scoring with 2 goals and 19 points, not quite making the significant impact that he has had in recent years.

Mike has the 3rd overall pick in the upcoming Waiver Draft and has a decision to make, pending the decision on Wideman or possibly even before.  Mike's team finished the week in 25th place in the standings, already 75 points back of the money and has little to no chance to make it up there.  Mike's only mini-game chance, which is also quite minimal, is in the rookie pool, where his team is already 56 points back of 1st there.

This incident has turned into quite the contentious subject, especially in Calgary, and it has made for an interesting conversation.  Those that are aware of the way that Wideman plays the game would know that he isn't known to be a very outlandishly violent player and I don't think that is really up for debate.

To me, the video is quite damning, no matter what Wideman has said in his post-game pressers about being woozy and hurt from the hit that Miikka Salomaki laid on him moments before, which likely didn't help his cause at all, for sure.  Nevertheless, reviewing the clips of the incident, it never appeared that Wideman had been looking down, his head and line of vision (assuming his eyes were open on the way back to the bench) never deviated, therefore he saw the linesman the entire way, before engaging him with his hands and his stick up, around the head/shoulders area.

The additional argument, which I've heard in numerous places, that he didn't stop to say sorry or help the linesman up from his fallen position, leads everyone to believe that the hit was intentional.

Woozy, concussed or not, the statement needs to be made by the league, a decision that will transcend hockey into the other pro leagues and youth sports, that any sort of contact with officials will not be tolerated.  I am expecting a serious suspension in this case, one that will be appealed and may be lightened in the end, but it still needs to be made.

That's my take and I will update this post with the end result and hopefully the video description as well.

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