NEW YORK — Commissioner Gary Bettman has upheld Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman's 20-game suspension for cross-checking a linesman.
The NHL announced the appeal decision Wednesday, and the NHL Players Association said it would appeal that ruling to a neutral arbitrator, the first such appeal under a power the players received in the most recent collective bargaining agreement, completed in 2013.
Wideman had a hearing with Bettman in New York last week after the player appealed the suspension handed down Feb. 3 by NHL senior executive vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell.
Wideman knocked down linesman Don Henderson during the second period of the Flames' game against Nashville on Jan. 27. After Wideman was checked hard into the boards by Predators wing Miikka Salomaki, he banged his stick on the ice and then knocked down Henderson in front of the Nashville bench. Wideman said he was in pain and was just trying to get off the ice, and he couldn't avoid Henderson.
"I am troubled by Mr. Wideman's total failure to accept any responsibility for his actions," Bettman wrote in his decision. "Indeed, although he made much at the hearing about the apologies he had already made to Mr. Henderson, the sincerity of those apologies rings somewhat hollow given the text message he sent to a teammate on Feb. 2 — after the conclusion of the hearing before Mr. Campbell — that 'the only problem and the only reason I'm here is cause the stupid refs and stupid media.' "
Henderson, injured on the hit, hasn't worked a game since and is following the league's concussion protocol.
Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke was furious about the decision. He said it was "incomprehensible" that the league took a week to "rubber-stamp" the suspension as the Flames struggle to get into a playoff spot.
Wideman served the eighth game of his suspension Wednesday against the Wild.
Game highlights: Rookie wing Artemi Panarin scored his first hat trick and the Blackhawks rallied to beat the host Rangers 5-3 after blowing a two-goal lead. … Jarome Iginla scored twice, including the go-ahead goal with 2:03 left, and the Avalanche beat the Canadiens 3-2. The Canadiens finished winless on a three-game trip.
First Period—1, Chicago, A.Desjardins 7 (Teravainen, Hjalmarsson), 3:30. Penalties—New York bench, served by Fast (high-sticking), 18:01.
Second Period—2, Chicago, Panarin 20 (Gustafsson, Rozsival), 10:05 (pp). 3, N.Y. Rangers, Hayes 10 (Lindberg), 13:45. Penalties—Kreider, NYR (holding), 8:17; Hinostroza, Chi, double minor (high-sticking), 19:34.
Third Period—4, N.Y. Rangers, Brassard 20 (Yandle, Kreider), :24 (pp). 5, N.Y. Rangers, Boyle 6 (Hayes, Miller), 2:17 (pp). 6, Chicago, Shaw 11 (Teravainen, Toews), 9:53 (pp). 7, Chicago, Panarin 21 (Kane, Seabrook), 17:00 (pp). 8, Chicago, Panarin 22 (Keith), 18:49 (en). Penalties—Stalberg, NYR (holding), 8:11; Yandle, NYR (holding), 16:30. Shots on Goal—Chicago 6-7-7—20. N.Y. Rangers 10-9-15—34. Power-play opportunities—Chicago 3 of 4; N.Y. Rangers 2 of 1. Goalies—Chicago, Crawford 32-14-3 (34 shots-31 saves). N.Y. Rangers, Lundqvist 28-15-4 (19-15).
First Period—1, Montreal, Markov 4 (Plekanec, Gallagher), 7:40. Penalties—Subban, Mon (holding), 10:42; J.Mitchell, Col (cross-checking), 13:20.
Second Period—2, Colorado, Johnson 9 (Landeskog, Beauchemin), 3:31 (sh). 3, Montreal, Eller 10 (Pacioretty, Andrighetto), 6:38. 4, Colorado, Iginla 16 (Barrie, Duchene), 16:46 (pp). Penalties—Bodnarchuk, Col (cross-checking), 2:41; Lessio, Mon (tripping), 8:08; Iginla, Col (goaltender interference), 13:51; Eller, Mon (holding stick), 16:37.
Third Period—5, Colorado, Iginla 17 (Grigorenko, Duchene), 17:57. Penalties—Gallagher, Mon (roughing), 18:42; Martinsen, Col (roughing), 18:42. Shots on Goal—Montreal 11-13-10—34. Colorado 7-14-7—28. Power-play opportunities—Montreal 0 of 3; Colorado 1 of 3. Goalies—Montreal, Scrivens 3-5-0 (28 shots-25 saves). Colorado, Varlamov 22-15-3 (34-32).