Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman has been suspended 20 games for running into linesman Don Henderson on Jan. 27.
According to the league, Wideman was suspended under Rule 40 (physical abuse of officials).
The incident occurred during the second period of the Flames 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators.
Wideman was not penalized during the game.
In a video explaining the suspension, the NHL acknowledged Wideman was diagnosed with a concussion after the game, but added being disoriented as a result of a hit from Nashville’s Miikka Salomaki was not an excuse.
"Wideman did not merely bump into or collide with the linesman," the NHL said. "He delivered a forceful blow that was no accident."
Wideman met with the league’s hockey operations department for nearly two hours in Toronto on Tuesday.
In a statement, Calgary Flames President of Hockey Operations, Brian Burke, voiced his disagreement with the ruling.
“We were informed earlier today that our player, Dennis Wideman, was suspended for contact with an official in last Wednesday’s game against Nashville," said Burke. "We disagree with the severity of today’s suspension ruling and maintain that Dennis’ collision with the linesman was unintentional and accidental.
"We agree that our officials’ safety and well-being is of extreme importance in order to allow them to perform their duties. They perform an invaluable but underappreciated role in our game. We support sanctions against players who make deliberate contact with any official. However, unintentional and accidental contact does occur at times in our game. We will have no further comment on the matter at this time.”
The 20-game ban is one of the longest in league history. As Sportsnet notes, Chicago Blackhawks forward Tom Lysiak received a 20 game suspension in 1983 for tripping linesman Ron Foyt.
The suspension will cost Wideman $564,516.20 in salary.
Wideman suspension puts the $ amount from fines/suspensions this season over $2million
— Kevin Gibson (@TSNResearch) February 3, 2016