When Calgary Flames defenceman Dennis Wideman collided with linesman Don Henderson Wednesday after he was on the receiving end of a hit by Nashville Predators forward Miikka Salomaki, the hockey world erupted.
Some felt Wideman crosschecked the linesman on purpose, while others felt it was an accident. The veteran blueliner could potentially face supplemental discipline regardless of intent and if he does it would fall under Rule No. 40 in the NHL’s official rulebook.
On Thursday afternoon, the league suspended Wideman indefinitely, pending a hearing with the league.
“I was just trying to get off the ice and at the last second I looked up and saw him,” Wideman, who apologized to Henderson for the unintentional contact, told reporters after the game. “I couldn’t avoid it. I didn’t know where to go or how to get out of the way of him.”
Suspensions stemming from incidents between players and officials are rare, yet they’re not entirely uncommon.
In 1983, Chicago Black Hawks forward Tom Lysiak received an automatic 20-game suspension when he tripped linesman Ron Foyt during a faceoff in a game against the Hartford Whalers. It remains one of the longest suspensions in NHL history.
Two seasons ago, during a rough playoff game between the Rangers and Canadiens, Daniel Carcillo jostled with linesman Scott Driscoll as he resisted going to the penalty box. That earned him a 10-game ban.
Another notorious player-official incident happened in 2004 when Philadelphia Flyers forward Jeremy Roenick was suspended one game because he threw a water bottle at an official. Roenick was upset the referee missed an obvious high sticking call that left him bleeding with a swollen lip. It prompted J.R.’s famous “NHL, wake up” speech.
Here are other notable abuse of an official suspensions in the last 15 years.
— Martin Gerber, three games (March 25, 2009)
— Mike Peca, five games (Oct 11, 2008)
— Nik Antropov, three games (Feb 1, 2008)
— Andre Roy, six games (Feb 24, 2007)
— Krzysztof Oliwa, three games (Mar 21, 2004)
— Andre Roy, three games (Feb 13, 2003)
— Slava Kozlov, three games (Jan 3, 2003)
— Darcy Hordichuk, 10 games (Nov 1, 2002)
— Alex Kovalev, three games (Mar 24, 2001)
— Rob Ray, 10 games later reduced to seven (Jan 3, 2001)