Dennis Wideman arbitrator expected to rule week of March 7

A text by Dennis Wideman to a teammate was released by the League in its decision to uphold his 20-game suspension. This has caused waves in the NHL and brought forward concerns over private communications by players.

The arbitrator ruling on the Dennis Wideman case expects to make a decision during the week of March 7, according to Dan Rosen of NHL.com.

Wideman was suspended 20 games by the NHL for hitting linesman Don Henderson on Jan. 27. The NHL upheld the length of the suspension upon a first appeal, so the NHLPA appealed to an independent arbitrator for a final ruling.

The length of time this process has taken has upset the Calgary Flames and their president of hockey operations, Brian Burke. Wideman will miss his 13th game Saturday and should the arbitrator reduce the suspension to, say, less than 13, Wideman would be recoup salary lost for extra game he sat out.

Wideman is currently losing $28,226 per game.

Also on Saturday night, Sportsnet’s Damien Cox reported that as the appeal process dragged on, the Flames requested Wideman be allowed to play until a final decision was reached, but that the league denied this request.

Burke spoke to Tim and Sid recently about the Flames’ perspective, saying “To take a week to rubber-stamp a decision that was made by the hockey operations department of the National Hockey League as games tick off for my player, that affect my team’s ability to win, that affect playoff races, that affect competitive balance, is incomprehensible to me.”