Wideman's controversial suspension slashed in half


Dennis Wideman was back in the Calgary Flames' line-up on Friday following a reduction of his controversial suspension.

The defenseman's original 20-game suspension for hitting linesman Don Henderson during a January 27 game was cut in half to 10 games.

Independent arbitrator James Oldham determined that Wideman showed no ill intent when he and the official made contact.

He also noted Wideman's "11 years of discipline-free performance".

"Wideman did not, in my opinion, 'deliberately strike' Henderson," Oldham wrote in his 18-page opinion, via ESPN.

"I do not believe that in his concussed state, Wideman could or should have anticipated that his push would cause Henderson to fall and bang his head against the boards sufficiently hard to put Henderson also in a concussed state."

Wideman had already sat out 19 of the 20 games, which means he will get back $282,258 of the $564,516 he would have originally lost from sitting out.

Despite the ruling, the NHL said it strongly disagrees with the ruling and that it will see "what next steps may be appropriate".

On the other hand, the NHLPA said Oldham's ruling was correct since Wideman had suffered a concussion seconds before and was clearly disoriented.