There’s making contact with an official, and then there’s what Dennis Wideman did on Wednesday night.
The Calgary Flames defenseman cross-checked linesman Don Henderson from behind, crumpling Henderson to the ice near the Nashville Predators bench. You hear the word "unbelievable" attached to sports highlights all too often, but this is one time when it’s a most apt adjective. Watch in the video above.
The play occurred during the second period, and Wideman wasn’t penalized. Henderson stayed in the game.
What the video also shows is that shortly before Wideman hit Henderson, Wideman had been checked hard into the boards by the Predators’ Miikka Salomaki, seeming to hit his head. As Wideman skates toward the bench, he appears stunned. That’s what the announcers focus on in the video below.
So, did Wideman himself get hit so hard that he couldn’t distinguish between the guy in the striped shirt and one of his opponents in the white sweaters? Maybe that will be his defense when he lands in the league office and tries to avoid a huge suspension.
It sure sounds better than the explanation Wideman offered after the game.
“I was just trying to get off the ice. And, at the last second, I looked up and saw him,” Wideman said (via SportsNet). “I couldn’t avoid it. I didn’t know where to go or how to get out of the way of him.”
I can confirm Wideman did apologize to linesman Don Henderson in the first TV timeout following his hit