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Flames vet Dennis Wideman says hit on linesman 'unintentional'

Calgary Flames veteran defenseman Dennis Wideman might need to meet with the NHL to explain his cross-checking of a linesman during the team's 2-1 home loss to the Nashville Predators on Wednesday night, a hit Wideman said was unintentional.

Wideman had just taken a hit from Nashville winger Miikka Salomaki and was skating toward the Flames' bench when he leveled linesman Don Henderson from behind, sending Henderson to the ice and against the boards.

Wideman was not penalized for the move, but the NHL on Thursday said it was looking into the incident, which occurred midway through the second period with the Predators leading 1-0.

He said after the game that he was distracted after the Salomaki hit and unintentionally collided with Henderson.

"I took a pretty good hit down in the corner and had some pretty good pain in my shoulder and neck," Wideman said. "I was just trying to get off the ice and kind of keeled over. At the last second, I looked up and saw [Henderson] and couldn't avoid it. I went up to Donnie and apologized to him on the ice.

"I didn't see him. I didn't know where to go and how to get out of the way. I've been around for a few years, and I think I've treated every official with the utmost respect, and I would never intentionally try to hit a linesman or a ref. It was completely unintentional, and I already apologized to him."

At the next stoppage, Wideman skated over to where the officials were gathered and apologized.

Said Flames coach Bob Hartley: "We all know Wides -- a great guy. He's not an aggressive person of any nature, and it was just like a bad accident."

If the league were to determine that Wideman hit Henderson intentionally, he would be subject to a suspension of no fewer than 20 games for deliberately attempting to injure an official, per the NHL rulebook.

Wideman, 32, is in his fourth season with the Flames and 11th in the NHL. He is second on the team in penalty minutes with 30 and has two goals and 19 points this season.

He entered the game with 94 goals, 275 assists and 471 penalty minutes in his career.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.