Wideman got up after being checked during the second period of Wednesday’s game against Nashville and struck linesman Don Henderson on the way to the bench. Wideman said afterwards he was in pain while trying to get off the ice and couldn’t avoid the contact.
Wideman apologized to Henderson, but was suspended indefinitely by the NHL pending a hearing with the league’s department of hockey operations next week.
Speaking in Vancouver after Thursday night’s BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, Cherry came to Wideman’s defence.
"What happened was he was stunned," said the famed hockey broadcaster. "That was a pretty good hit in the corner. He looked up and he saw somebody coming at him. He was just ticked off. I don't think he thought it was the lineman. He just saw a body coming at him."
Cherry said even though it's his opinion the incident was unintentional, he added Wideman will likely have to sit out a while when play resumes following the all-star break.
"That's too bad. He'll probably get some games because you can't touch an official," said Cherry. "He's never really done anything like that before."