The NHL admitted that Dennis Wideman was diagnosed with a concussion after hitting a referee during a game
The NHL has released its suspension video for Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman, who was suspended for 20 games for hitting referee Don Henderson during a game on January 27th. Wideman was suspended for twenty games because the NHL rules dictate that Wideman had to receive a suspension of at least 20 games.
"Rule 40.2 – Any player who deliberately strikes an official and causes injury or who deliberately applies physical force in any manner against an official with intent to injure, or who in any manner attempts to injure an official shall be automatically suspended for not less than twenty (20) games"
The NHL admitted that Wideman was diagnosed with a concussion after the game. This most likely happened after being hit to the boards moments before he hit Henderson. In order for there to be intent to injure, there must be proof that the player “knew or should have known could be expected to cause injury”.
Taking into account Wideman’s brain injury, it’s hard to say that he knew or even that he should have known that could have caused injury because he was clearly not in a good frame of mind when returning to the bench. The NHLPA is appealing Dennis Wideman’s suspension and this could go to an independent arbitrator. Even if the suspension isn’t reduced, the NHL will have to take a hard look at their concussion protocol and their rule book.