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The NHL Will Have A Hearing Regarding Dennis Wideman Post ASG

 

Missed what happened?  Watch it here.

added 6:01pm,

NEW YORK (Jan. 28, 2016) – Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman has been suspended pending a hearing with NHL Hockey Operations on Tuesday, February 2, for an incident involving linesman Don Henderson during NHL Game No. 742 Wednesday, January 27, at Scotiabank Saddledome.

The incident occurred at 11:19 of the second period.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dennis+wideman

Comments

Figaro's avatar

I wish there was a different angle available.  They just keep showing the same, from behind, shot that shows him upright, looking ahead, stick up, and extending the arms into the hit.  Maybe his story would check out if you could see his face and see if his eyes are elsewhere, but that one angle is pretty damning.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 01/28/16 at 04:58 PM ET

Paul's avatar

There is Fig but basically someone pointing a camera at the TV screen, not the best quality.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKfCoDBjykQ

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 01/28/16 at 05:02 PM ET

Alan's avatar

I blame both Wideman and the linesman. The refs really need to be much more situationally aware. Wideman didn’t look like he was all there, even as he was skating back to the bench. He looked as if he noticed the linesman at the last second or two.

Pretty damning nontheless, but I feel both parties are at fault here.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 01/28/16 at 05:31 PM ET

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Alternate angle: https://twitter.com/AdamVingan/status/692559523798765570

Posted by ThomasP on 01/28/16 at 05:39 PM ET

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Can definitely see his kneejerk reaction more in the 2nd angle; still incriminating enough for sure.

Posted by neffernin on 01/28/16 at 05:49 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I really don’t like this.  This is the league being tone-deaf on the whole head injury thing….

That angle ThomasP posted seems to back up the “disoriented and taken a bit by surprise” theory.  He’s just gliding trying to get to the bench…

I’l be VERY curious if the NHLPA steps in on this.  It could get very ugly in a hurry…

Posted by Primis on 01/28/16 at 06:02 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

The fact of the matter is, he still did what he did, and no one really knows what state of mind he was in at the time.

I can’t find the exact breakdown, but it appears he continued to play the rest of the game.  He may have missed a couple shifts, but it doesn’t appear he underwent any concussion protocol or anything to keep him out.

Posted by TreKronor on 01/28/16 at 06:14 PM ET

Hootinani's avatar

I can’t find the exact breakdown

He took a regular shift about 2 minutes later and continued to finish the game.

Every bit of his body language screams intent.  Was he dazed?  Who knows, but he sits on the bench seconds later complaining to a teammate about the hit, and gave no notice or apology to Henderson.  And every excuse he’s provided seems to be BS if you give the video an unbiased watch.

And If he was dazed from the hit, which led to his actions against the linesman, then Calgary needs to face discipline for not even bothering to test him, much less letting him finish the game.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 01/28/16 at 07:04 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

gave no notice or apology to Henderson.

Another thing that bothers me.  Why no look-over to the injured lineman.  From all replays (again, no camera sticking on him the entire time) he just sits on the bench and doesn’t give the linesman a glance.  The play is stopped and there is an injured skater being attended to, the skater you just plowed through, and you don’t at least lean over and give a half-assed “sorry”?

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 01/28/16 at 07:10 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 01/28/16 at 06:04 PM ET

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 01/28/16 at 06:10 PM ET

I can only assume neither of you have never gotten rung up then.  Each time is different, but sometimes…. you really are oblivious to the world around you.  He may not have even realized it was a linesman.

To me, the casualness of it all *screams* there was an injury issue, that he had *no idea* what was going on and was focused solely on getting to the bench (everyone leaves out that the reason he was there on the boards behind the linesman is he was trying to get to the bench), and then convincing the trainers he was alright to keep playing, because it’s all he was capable of doing in that moment.

And If he was dazed from the hit, which led to his actions against the linesman, then Calgary needs to face discipline for not even bothering to test him, much less letting him finish the game.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 01/28/16 at 06:04 PM ET

I would agree.  They couldn’t have possibly NOT known to check him, even *without* hitting the linesman.  If he had made it to the bench, he still should have been checked on.

And it’s also why Wideman is not coming up and saying things directly—he doesn’t want to undergo concussion protocol or scrutiny.  And I bet he told the trainers he hurt something other than his head when he got to the bench.

His eyes on the bench tell a story though.  He…. he wasn’t really in there at that moment.  Maybe for a minute, maybe for far more, who knows.  He did not look…. aware.  Of anything.

Posted by Primis on 01/28/16 at 07:47 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Elliotte Friedman tweet,

Wideman clarification: because no game misconduct, Colin Campbell doesn’t have to follow Rule 40. Can choose whatever number he wishes

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 01/28/16 at 07:50 PM ET

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Does Wideman have any history of dirty play? Any history of aggression or issues with this or any official?

Dennis Wideman and the Flames are about as far as a player and team can get from me really caring either way, but it just seems baffling that a guy with no rep (I know of) for even playing on the edge would just suddenly, blithely decide to plow into a linesman.

I’ve only had one minor concussion, but for the first minute or so after the stoppage in play I really just needed to walk off the field and get my bearings. Being out of it, trying to keep your composure while just trying to get to the bench, then having someone sort of unexpectedly back up into your path and trying to brace yourself by putting your hands out seems more plausible than leveling an official just because.

Posted by Lefty30 on 01/28/16 at 08:13 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

I can’t find the exact breakdown, but it appears he continued to play the rest of the game.  He may have missed a couple shifts, but it doesn’t appear he underwent any concussion protocol or anything to keep him out.

And that’s what’s going to hurt his chances for an appeal.
If he’s concussed why didn’t he leave the bench and get checked out? If he went to the darkroom then I think he has a legit shot of getting out with a slap on the wrist.

It’ll be very interesting if Wideman blames the team trainer for not forcing him to the Dark Room.
But I’m not sure he wants to throw him under the bus. That’s another can of worms.

What an ugly situation.
I think it’s clear he wasn’t thinking straight, but I don’t think that really matters. He hammered a linseman. 10 games minimum.

Posted by Hank1974 on 01/28/16 at 08:36 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

I’ve only had one minor concussion, but for the first minute or so after the stoppage in play I really just needed to walk off the field and get my bearings. Being out of it, trying to keep your composure while just trying to get to the bench, then having someone sort of unexpectedly back up into your path and trying to brace yourself by putting your hands out seems more plausible than leveling an official just because.

Posted by Lefty30 on 01/28/16 at 07:13 PM ET

I’ve had a few, unfortuantely, and on a couple of the big ones I don’t remember plays I’ve been on the field for (football) and quite a bit of time that I have no recollection of (rugby). I’d say he has a good defense of what he did but do we believe him? Very curious to see how thia plays out.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 01/28/16 at 08:45 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

I hate to play the “Evil Corporation Thought” card, but if he doesn’t get any time off because he may have been concussed, the league opens itself up to “But I got hit earlier in the game and I wasn’t sure where I was” excuse any time a guy makes aggressive contact with an official.  So whether or not he was aware he was running the linesman over, The League may have to make an example of him in order to protect their officials down the road. 


Ugh…I know too many lawyers…

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 01/28/16 at 08:48 PM ET

Mistercristo's avatar

The ref should have had his head up.

I’m only half joking, but Henderson isn’t even casually aware of his surroundings; expecting Wideman to be more aware of his surroundings after getting hit in the head that hard than a ref who’s not paying attention is logically untenable.  Henderson is on the ice, in the middle of an active game, with players circling behind him and he’s blindly skating backwards?  I can’t even walk backwards in my house or I’ll step on my dog.

This should be one of the NHLPA’s exhibits in the “Getting Hit in the Head is Bad” trial and obviously in Wideman’s suspension appeal (since he will be, but doesn’t deserve one).  Right here - in this one series of events - it shows cause and (immediate) effect: you get hit in the head, you might not know what in the Hell is going on around you.  Am I the only one that saw Salomaki put Wideman’s head into the glass?  Where’s the boarding penalty “to remove these type of plays from hockey”?  The NHL is as serious about head injuries as they are about increasing scoring: not at all, but please think that we’ve pretended to care for 20 years.  Pick any news outlet that covers hockey, and they probably have a story about the NHL’s pompous attitude towards any correlation between head injuries and brain trauma and DGB covers the NHL’s scoring apathy better than anyone else: http://www.downgoesbrown.com/2015/11/a-brief-history-of-nhl-pretending-its.html but I digress.

I see a linesman out of position who’s skating backwards with no clue and a player with less of a clue colliding together.  Pure happenstance, but hey, let’s manufacture some “outrage” so we can ignore the story of how the NHL tried to force - I mean ask - John Scott to stay home from the all-star game and that well-deserved backlash.  Perfect timing for this “controversy” to bury that story, right?

If anyone deserves a suspension, it’s Calgary’s training staff for not getting Wideman off of the bench to either administer an obviously needed concussion test, or to at least give Wideman an “alibi”, if you will, re: his confused actions.

Posted by Mistercristo from Cameron Frye's garage, circa 1987 on 01/29/16 at 12:26 AM ET

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Looked to me like a pissed off guy who wanted to hit the 1st person he saw.
Definitely worth a suspension.

Posted by George0211 on 01/29/16 at 08:45 AM ET

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Completely agree micastro.  And im glad youre not evaluating it george, thats about as simple as it gets observationally.  Par for the course.  Werent you just on me the other day for wanting every player suspended for every hit?  Wrong there too.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 01/29/16 at 09:42 AM ET

You talking about me or Malik? Certainly wasn’t me wanting suspension for every hit.

Posted by George0211 on 01/29/16 at 10:44 AM ET

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Posted by Mistercristo from Cameron Frye’s garage, circa 1987 on 01/28/16 at 11:26 PM ET

I agree with you on Wideman, but I’m finding it hard to blame the ref.  He was doing his job, following the puck and the play.  Clearly he (and everyone else) missed the hit on Wideman.

No blame, as far as I’m concerned, just an unfortunate incident.

If they give him any kind of lengthy suspension, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was an NHLPA uproar, and if would be completely warranted.

Posted by Garth on 01/29/16 at 12:48 PM ET

shazam88's avatar

Well I’d be surprised if he ended up getting less than 10 games. Medical evidence and his reputation may mitigate slightly, but zero chance he slides on this.

Not really much I can add to a thread with posts this deep but this looks bad on everyone involved, particularly the Flames.

Bottom line though, (1) he slammed the ref, (2) showed no immediate signs of contrition, and (3) he got on the ice again just minutes later. So yeah, he definitely could have been dazed but using that to explain the entirety of the events seems like a helluva stretch. Blaming the ref for skating backwards seems bizarre. I mean, we bitch about them non-stop and now they’re supposed to see every damn thing in front of them as well as behind them? C’mon.

Sure, if he sees a neurologist and is diagnosed with a severe concussion, that would be a decent mitigating factor (and if nothing else, it would be bad PR for the league to completely ignore it) but in looking at this, they have to start with the actual facts before going into more convoluted storylines. NHLPA will probably complain because that’s their job, but the refs have to protected; everyone knows that. If he’s allowed to slide with a temporary insanity, that’s a dangerous precedent.

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 01/29/16 at 01:09 PM ET

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but using that to explain the entirety of the events seems like a helluva stretch.

I don’t think it’s a stretch at all, just look at the video.

they have to start with the actual facts

Yes, and the fact of the matter is that he has hit hard and went head first into the boards immediately before what happened with the ref.  It’s not difficult to connect those two dots.

If he’s allowed to slide with a temporary insanity, that’s a dangerous precedent.

It’s really not though.  It’s a unique situation that, as far as I know, has never happened before.

Posted by Garth on 01/29/16 at 01:24 PM ET

shazam88's avatar

  but using that to explain the entirety of the events seems like a helluva stretch.

I don’t think it’s a stretch at all, just look at the video.

  they have to start with the actual facts

Yes, and the fact of the matter is that he has hit hard and went head first into the boards immediately before what happened with the ref.  It’s not difficult to connect those two dots.

  If he’s allowed to slide with a temporary insanity, that’s a dangerous precedent.

It’s really not though.  It’s a unique situation that, as far as I know, has never happened before.

Posted by Garth on 01/29/16 at 12:24 PM ET

Definitely a unique situation at this point, but it sure wouldn’t remain that way if he’s completely absolved. Today’s divers would be replaced by Hollywood performances in temporary, post-hit brain trauma.

Look, Wideman was hit hard. I may not have emphasized that but I’m hardly disputing it, and I don’t doubt that he was very shaken up. But the burden is still on him to explain that ridiculous shot to the ref. Even if he saw the ref at the last second, why would you cross check him? That makes zero sense. Are you telling me that was the only way to stop?

If I was absolutely forced to guess and was to put this in the best possible light for Wideman, I’d say that he was very woozy from the hit, didn’t see the ref until the last second, and already being mad at the ref, made a poor decision and nailed him. From the manner of the hit, I don’t buy that it was accidental.

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 01/29/16 at 01:45 PM ET

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If I was absolutely forced to guess and was to put this in the best possible light for Wideman, I’d say that he was very woozy from the hit, didn’t see the ref until the last second, and already being mad at the ref, made a poor decision and nailed him. From the manner of the hit, I don’t buy that it was accidental.

Best possible light for Wideman would be he was in a concussive daze, didn’t see the lineman until collision was unavoidable, and put his arms out to protect himself from being hit again.  Still in the daze and seeing stars, he continued to the bench and put his head down to recover.  The hit he gave quite possibly didn’t even fully register, as he was completely focused on getting back to his bench.

Additionally, he could have thought it was an opposing player hence his reaction.

Posted by neffernin on 01/29/16 at 02:12 PM ET

shazam88's avatar

^^ Yeah, I can’t completely disagree on that. When I look at the contact, it seems fairly aggressive, though, as there was a distinct follow through after the hit, so the explanation starts to sound a bit tenuous at that level of detail.

The burden is on him to explain his actions. Under the rules, he doesn’t need intent to injure (though lacking intent would lower the penalty range), so even if he was dazed and unable to form the intent to injure the ref, he isn’t automatically absolved.

Interesting stuff and I probably like arguing this stuff a little too much just for the distraction it provides.

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 01/29/16 at 03:35 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Mark Spector today from Sportsnet,

Working officials are discouraged from speaking with the media, and an email went out to all officials the morning after the Wideman incident asking them to keep their opinions to themselves in the name of due process. We spoke to some former zebras, and a few people in the active refereeing community to get a gauge on where the officials stand however, and it is clear most are expectant of a suspension of at least 10 games for Wideman.

“It doesn’t matter if he got hit before, or if he was not in full (consciousness),” said former long-time NHL referee Denis Morel. “No less than 10 games for sure. That was, in my books, a cheap shot.

“I wouldn’t mind 20 games in this situation. It would give a good example to the players.”

Another former referee who did not want his name used was surprised by the player involved. “I know Wideman’s a good guy, I always loved him on the ice. But he made a bad decision,” the ref said.

more

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 01/29/16 at 03:43 PM ET

Mistercristo's avatar

Blaming the ref for skating backwards seems bizarre.

Situational awareness and all of that, Shazam.  “Head on a swivel”, etc.  I don’t think the refs should be exempt from knowing what’s going on around them.  I thought that’s their job description smile .  Like I said earlier, I can’t walk backwards in my own home because I’m aware that my dog is likely to be right behind me.  Not the same of course, but in both cases looking behind you is a great idea.

After thinking more about this last night, here’s the best analogy that I can muster: imagine that a very thin paper bag was put on Wideman’s head after his head hit the glass.  You can still hear - although slightly muffled - and you can barely see blurred shapes and colors through the bag.  Being on a rink most of your life, you realize that something is very wrong and you need to go “home” (the bench).  After a concussion-level event, the vast majority of players instinctively try to go “home” if they aren’t still prone.  Well, right about the time that you are nearing the formless red blob that is the Flames bench, you suddenly notice a different blob in the way of your attempt to get off the ice so you try to avoid it and get your hands up to protect yourself from further brain trauma, but it’s too late.  You then sit on the bench for a while with the paper bag on your head while trying to convince a trainer that you’re ok to play if they just give you a minute.

However, all that is purely my speculation just like every other person’s idea of what really happened, but I’ll say this: the worst concussion that I’ve had was from a car window frame that put a nice six inch dent in my skull.  I regained consciousness 1.2 miles away (someone later drove the route) at a gas station, bleeding profusely and surrounded by people and EMTs.  I still have no idea how I got there.  Autopilot is an interesting phenomenon and self-preservation is a powerful instinct.

Tl;dr:

Posted by neffernin on 01/29/16 at 01:12 PM ET

sums it up grin

Posted by Mistercristo from Cameron Frye's garage, circa 1987 on 01/29/16 at 03:49 PM ET

shazam88's avatar

However, all that is purely my speculation just like every other person’s idea of what really happened, but I’ll say this: the worst concussion that I’ve had was from a car window frame that put a nice six inch dent in my skull.  I regained consciousness 1.2 miles away (someone later drove the route) at a gas station, bleeding profusely and surrounded by people and EMTs.  I still have no idea how I got there.  Autopilot is an interesting phenomenon and self-preservation is a powerful instinct.

Wow, that’s pretty crazy! I’ve been tagged a few times in the head and felt groggy so stuff can happen. And when you put it like that (autopilot; self-preservation), one time when I was 10 yrs old I managed to walk about 125 feet on autopilot (unable to see at that point) when there was a traumatic, very life-threatening condition that I had to get away from, so yeah, I can’t argue that any of that is impossible.

 

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 01/29/16 at 04:50 PM ET

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Even if he saw the ref at the last second, why would you cross check him?

Because he was looking down, saw skating coming toward him and, well, he’s a hockey player, so rather than simply absorbing the hit he thought was coming, he wanted to inflict some damage on the other guy as well.

Oh, and he quite possibly was concussed.  Ask a guy suffering from CTE why he can’t name the months chronologically from January to December.  There’s not always a clear answer when it comes to things like this.

Posted by Garth on 01/29/16 at 05:13 PM ET

Mistercristo's avatar

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 01/29/16 at 02:43 PM ET

Oh, I love how former officials are circling the wagons and don’t give a sh*t about a player that likely sustained a concussion.  They seem to think that giving a guy the benefit of the doubt would open up the entire league to uninterrupted abuse of the refs.

Here are our friends Kerry Fraser:

This is where any free pass for Wideman ends for me. While I believe contact at this point was unavoidable, I do not accept or condone the finishing push of Wideman’s hands that exacerbated the degree of impact and caused a hard fall to the ice by the linesman.

I would ask Wideman why he didn’t bear hug the defenseless linesman to minimize the contact. Why didn’t he decelerate his forward motion in any way to reduce the impact? Finally, I would ask why he felt it necessary to extend his arms and finish the contact with a strong push on the back of linesman Henderson.

I would ask Kerry Fraser if he’s ever been concussed and if he still had the faculties to choose to “bear hug” someone in his way, because comparing apples to apples is always better than blind supposition, but hey, get those indignation clicks, Kerry.

...and Paul Stewart (you know, the same guy that called Steve Yzerman a “one of the five biggest whiners I dealt with”:

I get the woozy part and I understand the remorse. However, he’s got to sit. The rule is specific and justly so. Hitting a ref or linesman, whether you are conscious or semi-conscious, is an absolute NO EXCUSE action. The NHL Rule Book spells out the automatic disciplinary aftermath.

He goes on to regale us with stories of him punching a ref and breaking his nose when he was a player in ‘77 and punching an Oilers player when he was a ref in the late ‘90s.  Here’s a Wings-related character reference: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1350&dat=19900115&id=9UNPAAAAIBAJ&sjid=BgMEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6929,2580207&hl=en

Since “Hitting a ref or linesman, whether you are conscious or semi-conscious, is an absolute NO EXCUSE action”, I wonder if he would advocate suspending a defenseman that’s backing up into his defensive zone and accidentally hits a ref who should be anywhere but directly behind a defenseman skating backwards.  What am I saying?  Of course he would.  NO EXCUSES, right?

The self-importance and blind allegiance of most officials is pathetic, but expected.  The most hilarious part of this “controversy” is that it seems that no ref is aware that Wideman wasn’t given a game misconduct (per Rule 40.1), thus he could get as little as a zero game suspension, not the twenty games that they’re advocating based on Rule 40.2 or the ten games based on Rule 40.3.  If the germane factors don’t satisfy a breach of Rule 40.1, you can’t attach Rule 40.2, 40.3, or 40.4.  Sure, you could suspend him for 20, 10, or 3 games, but you can’t use any part of Rule 40 to justify it.  Additionally, I don’t know how they could invoke Rule 40.5 (Automatic Suspension - Process) since, again, there wasn’t a game misconduct.

Posted by Mistercristo from Cameron Frye's garage, circa 1987 on 01/29/16 at 05:15 PM ET

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Given the angle, I think he might have thought it was an opposing player going to the bench; though definitely a split second decision at a time where seeing and/or decision making wouldn’t have been easy. 

The league has to give him 10 games+ no matter what pretty much, I don’t think they have a choice.  Refs are untouchable.  Unfortunately, they may choose to “set an example” and give him 20…. and if they do I’d understand.  In the end, a player cross-checked a ref with a blindside hit right at the boards. 

Really just an unfortunate situation all around; at least no one is majorly injured (or so it seems).

Posted by neffernin on 01/29/16 at 06:17 PM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

Quick, everyone defend the guy who drove the ref into the ice. 

There is a clear answer Garth.  Wideman smoked the ref.  When you bump a guy by accident, you don’t finish the check and slam him to the ice, and then walk over him without looking back.

I love how hard you guys have to squint to make this complex.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 01/29/16 at 08:05 PM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

Oh, I forgot, concussed players regularly hammer a guy on the way to the bench.  Good call.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 01/29/16 at 08:06 PM ET

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Nothing but thoughtful, insightful comments here; this is pretty impressive.

The officials and league (and even teams and players with their need to preserve a certain culture of toughness over mitigating head injuries) all have their vested interests. Scott Parker, who I was afraid for awhile would be the second coming of Chris Simon (scary enforcer + Avs) apparently complained that Bob Hartley was really abusive in terms of ordering him to fight injured, denigrating players who were too hurt to play, etc.

No doubt this is also on the Flames and their staff, too, for not protecting their player - in both senses.

The cross-check looks malicious, but if Wideman (who was not quite past the Nashville bench) really didn’t
know what was going on, he could have mistaken the linesman for an opponent who was not just blocking his ability to get where he badly needed to go, but was also risking another hard collision. He looks bad gliding toward the bench and bad once he’s sitting down. Maybe he really didn’t have a clear idea of what had just happened maybe all he was focused on was trying to brush away the cobwebs.

It’s not like he’s laughing or joking about it…nor does he overcompensate by blowing up and yelling and trying
to blame someone else, which a lot of hot-heads do after they know they screwed up…he just looks out of it. The first couple of minutes after I got run in the head all I could do was try and get some space. But after 5-10mins, I finished the game. Less than five days later I ran a marathon. I’ll never be as tough as pro hockey player, but even we amateurs, who don’t have to deal with Bob Hartley or that intense culture of pride in playing hurt, can be pretty damn stubborn. Wideman should have been led straight to the quiet room. But i guess a lot of guys avoid that if they can.

Posted by Lefty30 on 01/29/16 at 08:36 PM ET

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