The suspension saga for Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman still doesn’t have a conclusion with the NHL seeking to have the neutral arbitrator’s decision to reduce the suspension to 10 games vacated. That may be the least important news about the incident, though, as it sounds as though linesman Don Henderson may be lost from the officiating ranks.
Henderson, who was on the receiving end of the hit that led to Wideman’s 20-game suspension, reportedly underwent surgery to repair damage done from the incident. According to the Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont, Henderson’s surgery was to repair “two ruptured disks in his neck,” and the surgery could have a terrible result for the 47-year-old linesman.
Dupont spoke with one of Henderson’s fellow referees, who said the linesman’s career could be over.
“I know a lot of people are saying stuff like, ‘Hey, Wideman’s not that type of guy…that’s not in his nature…he’s a good kid,’ ’’ Henderson’s friend told Dupont. “And I say, ‘Yeah, so what?!’ That doesn’t make it any less egregious. He attacked him from behind, the puck was nowhere near the two of them, and now Henderson’s career may be finished. I don’t see much difference between what he did and Wayne Maki cracking his stick over Teddy Green’s head.’’
Following the hit, which occurred on Jan. 27, Wideman said that the hit was the result of him seeing Henderson at the last second and not being able to avoid hitting him. Wideman was later diagnosed with a concussion.
“I’ve been around for a few years, and I think I’ve treated every official with the utmost respect,” Wideman said, via the Canadian Press. “And I would never intentionally try to hit a linesman or a ref. It was completely unintentional.’’
Henderson has not officiated a game since the hit. He’s a 20-year veteran, and has officiated more than 1,200 games. He made his debut in March 1995.
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