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Dennis Wideman ruling not expected until week of March 7

A decision on Dennis Wideman's final appeal isn't expected for at least another week, deputy commissioner Bill Daly told reporters Saturday.

Following a two-day hearing Thursday and Friday in New York, the neutral arbitrator, James Oldham, informed the parties that he would not be in a position to render a decision until the week of March 7.

In the meantime, post-hearing briefs must be provided to the arbitrator by Friday.

"Normally you have an oral closing and I think the parties collectively decided that instead of an oral closing we'd do a post-hearing brief for the benefit of the arbitrator," Daly said.

That means the drawn-out process will be even longer for the Calgary Flames defenseman, who was suspended 20 games for his hit on linesman Don Henderson in a Jan. 27 game.

Wideman was to serve his 13th game of the suspension Saturday night as the Flames hosted the Ottawa Senators.

Daly, though, said it is the nature of the case that has contributed to the length of time to hear the various levels of appeals.

"I would say that the National Hockey League on both levels of the appeal had offered earlier dates than the players' association was prepared to take," he said. "But that's not to disparage anybody because the case is a little bit different than it was.

"Obviously from the player's perspective I think the monetary penalty is significant (Wideman will forfeit $564,516.20 if the 20-game suspension is upheld), and I think he wants a fair hearing on whether that's a fair monetary penalty. I don't think either party has a concern with the process itself. It is what it is."

Commissioner Gary Bettman upheld Wideman's suspension in a written ruling Feb. 17 following the player's first appeal hearing with him.

A key part of Wideman's defense in the Feb. 10 appeal hearing with Bettman was the contention that he was concussed and therefore not fully aware of his actions. In his ruling, Bettman did not accept the concussion defense.

As for whether the league was looking into whether the Flames handled the league-mandated concussion protocol correctly after Wideman knocked down Henderson, Daly acknowledged they had had discussions with the team about how events unfolded but would provide no details.

"We've had some discussions with the Flames," Daly said. "Not prepared to address that right now. I think it's separate and apart from the Wideman hearing. If we have something to announce there we'll announce it probably after Wideman."

Information from ESPN's Scott Burnside was used in this report.