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Dennis Wideman ran over a linesman from behind, but was it intentional?

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Did Dennis Wideman cross-check an official on purpose?

Pierre LeBrun@Real_ESPNLeBrun: So, did he do it on purpose? Dennis Wideman's bizarre hit on linesman Don Henderson is the talk of the NHL this morning, and the incident is already under review by NHL vice president Colin Campbell because this isn't a player safety matter for senior VP Stephane Quintal. It could lead to a hearing where Campbell would want Wideman to explain himself, and could result in a suspension. But it could also lead to nothing if Campbell believes Wideman didn't do it on purpose. For now, what do we think? I just can't imagine Wideman deliberately wanted to injure Henderson. It looks bad, but Wideman looked dazed and confused after taking a big hit seconds earlier from the Nashville Predators' Miikka Salomaki. "I took a pretty hard hit down in the corner and had some pretty good pain in my shoulder and my neck and I was just trying to get off the ice, and I was kind of keeled over and at the last second, I looked up and I saw him and I couldn't avoid it," Wideman told reporters afterward. I believe him, but at the same time, the league does have to protect its officials. It's going to be interesting, to say the least.


Scott Burnside@ESPN_Burnside: I think the bigger issue is how the league can discipline Wideman for something that went without an on-ice call. There have been far too many incidents where supplemental discipline has been meted out for plays that did not result in on-ice calls. It's embarrassing for the league and the hardworking on-ice officials when that happens. Can you imagine Wideman being disciplined now for barreling over an on-ice official on a play that went uncalled during the game? I think it's going to be chalked up to Wideman being disoriented and trying to get to the bench after having his bell rung. The fact that he continued to play does make you wonder where the concussion spotter was, but that's a whole other can of worms. My guess is we'll just be thankful no one was seriously injured on this bizarre play and move on to save everyone from further embarrassment.


Craig Custance@CraigCustance: I tell you, the optics on this are awful. Even if he's woozy from the hit, it looks like Wideman had time to get around Henderson. I keep watching it over and over again. If it were a player on the Predators he was hitting, we'd say without a doubt it was intentional. But because we're talking about a linesman and the automatic 20-game suspension that comes with it, the risk of making an intentional hit certainly doesn't match the reward. And we're talking about Dennis Wideman here. This isn't a player with a history of playing dirty. He went over and apologized during a TV timeout. After the game, he told reporters that "in my view, it was obviously unintentional." That's where I disagree. There's nothing obvious about this other than he bowled over a linesman. If it was intentional, this is one of the biggest lapses in judgment we've seen in the NHL in years and he deserves the punishment that comes with it. Even if it wasn't intentional, isn't Wideman still responsible for the results of the action? I'm not sure how he escapes this without a suspension.


Joe McDonald@ESPNJoeyMac: We should have invited ESPN injury expert Stephania Bell to this morning's discussion -- maybe she could explain the effects of immediate post-traumatic automatism. My understanding of it is that a person can experience memory loss after a head injury. I'm not saying Wideman hit the linesman on purpose. After watching Wideman's entire shift, it does appear he became disoriented after being hit in the corner, moments before he crashed into Henderson. I'm sure Wideman will use this as his defense, but this is no doubt a delicate situation for the league.


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