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Thread: Dennis Wideman cross-checks linesman in the back

  1. #1
    IHF Staff Marc Brunengraber's Avatar
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    Dennis Wideman cross-checks linesman in the back

    Calgary Flames defenseman appears to have purposefully cross-checked a linesman from behind in the back.

    It will be very interesting to see what the NHL does in terms of a possible suspension.

    Personally, if I was the NHL commissioner, I'd suspend him for the rest of the season, including the playoffs.

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nhl/...b7Kz&ocid=iehp

  2. #2
    IHF Member WHawks's Avatar
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    Very hard to watch this and get to the conclusion that it was unintentional at least, so yeah I think they'll come down on him hard for this.

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    His reaction afterwards certainly doesn't give him any credit in my book.
    He doesn't at all act like this was an accident as it would be natural to help the referee if that was the case. The video really makes for a clear cut case that he is attacking the referee with intent and then he is lying about it afterwards. They have to get hard on this if they want to avoid it in the future, as every player could excuse himself afterwards with "it was not my intent", if he gets away with this on.
    So in my opinion if they are mild -> 2 years ban.
    If they have guts and they should be harsh since he is not even excusing himself, but seemingly lies about it -> lifetime ban.
    But its something rarely seen in sports involving lots of money -> how Suarez in football avoided lifetime ban for biting an opponent in the WC 2014 is incomprehensible to me, especially since it was the third time in his career he did it.
    All three bites - Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/luis-...ry-2014-6?IR=T
    He also had a lame excuse - he lost balance and feel with his teeth on the opponent:
    Excuse - Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/luis-...ry-2014-6?IR=T

    Apparently the rules (NHL rule 40.2) only says a ban for minimum 20 matches for attacked an official with intent. 20 matches is ridiculously low (though I know its stated as a minimum).
    If I were one of the referees and he gets off this mildly I would seriously consider a strike. Being a hockey referee is dangerous enough with pucks fleeing around, if they also have to be aware of attacks from behind by players it will be pretty hard to concentrate on the game.
    In taekwondo (Olympics 2008) you had a guy that attacked the referee and both he and his coach got lifetime bans (and here the referee wasn't even knocked down, but just strafed by the kick).
    Source: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/200...ubanattacksref

    So it would be test to see if NHL is like Taekwondo or like FIFA..........

  4. #4
    IHF Staff Trim's Avatar
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    "I looked up at the last second... I didn't know how to get around him." Well, well. It sure looked like his head was up from the point he crossed the goal line. Plus, there was a good 82 feet of ice to the right of the official... Though you have to like the look the reporter is giving him in that video, completely doesn't look like he buys the story.

    I'd agree with Marc as a minimum and with Justinov as a maximum. But like Justinov also stated, the NHL will be like FIFA in this case.

    Yes, penalties don't always go your way. Yes, sometimes there are legitimately bad calls, missed calls, and the like - not that this is the case here, the hit on Wideman looked fair. As a fan, you can give the referees a hard time but as a player, NHL or mites, you have to respect their duty. Ultimately the on ice officials are there for the players' own safety, not to call one-sided games.
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    What actually surprises me is that so many of the hockey fan base are defending Wideman's actions (no one here).
    There seem to have evolved a fan culture where the referees are seen as "fair game" and no longer sacred and the incident should be treated like if Wideman had crosschecked a player! To these kind of fans even a 10 match penalty would cause an outcry.
    1) They totally miss the important point that referees don't have protective gear and doesn't in any way expect an attack, which make any physical assault on them extremely dangerous - they are not just like players.
    2) Also these fans don't see that if referees a regarded as fair game it means that players can actually threaten and bully them on the ice - since referees now will obviously know they no longer have any special status!

    It is apparent that they are no longer seen as untouchable by quite a significant segment of fans. I wonder if this attitude have spilled over into a beginning player attitude? The general fan talk about referees constantly being unfair and handing over weak calls against their own team and not getting the calls they feel their own team deserves might start to influence players who reads these fan posts and agrees with them?
    Some fans brings up Wideman being dazed and so argues that he did this without intent, so to excuse his actions. I just say bad luck for the next referee to be in the way off a dazed player - as that happens quite often in hockey matches.

    Normally in sport the black/white uniform is a beacon like a flaming furnace - no matter what you never put your hand in there. If players can't accept that they have no business in sport, period. This regard of the referee as an authority has apparently been eroding significantly among fans and some spill over to players are to be expected with time.
    That's why NHL's judgement will be very interesting to follow as it will send a clear signal to what the future will bring......

    NB: Possible counters the referees can use towards the NHL management:
    1) If the referees gets "ignored" by NHL a good counter would be in matches to give match-penalty to every players who appears within 1 meter of a referee during a match (interpreting the rules that it is obviously "intent to harm", otherwise why would that player be there? - don't they have a hockey game to play?). You then effectively create a protective "crease" around the referee that cannot be broken by any means by players, as it apparently is necessary for safety reasons.
    Then it is up to the players to position themselves accordingly during the game.

    2) Furthermore every time a player that has been hit hard you stop the game and send the player to medical screening for the rest of the game as dazed players apparently are unable to control themselves and a danger to all on their way of the ice, so for safety reasons they have to leave the ice before the game can resume, while the referees position themselves far away from danger.

    3) Otherwise (more realistically) you just refuse to go on the ice, but then do the refereeing from the sidelines using cameras.

    Point being: Who wants to be an NHL referee if you can be attacked from players for the fairly petty cash they earn compared to players? They would need to have some serious big "danger bonus" on their salary for each match - though if they are clever they should tactically play the safety card first towards NHL, then switch to the money card if they are being ignored. Strike or HUGE salary increase (star player levels) as they are officially no longer regarded as sacred but as players, they should be paid same salary as players.
    Huge risk jobs makes for higher paid salary. Elite referees the same as elite player salaries.
    Then NHL could actually then save lots of money by kicking out the offending player and the referees could get their safety issues through, as the financial issue is obviously the only thing in the minds of pro-sport leaders, if they let this slide. So if this is the case then only a monetary issues can change their minds.

    Off course all this is only possible is the referees stands strong together and don't budge an inch.....

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    So Wideman got the absolute minimum 20 matches penalty according to the NHL rules for this type of offense!
    That is only around 2 months! To me that sounds absolutely ridiculously low.

    So NHL has proven to to the world their are of the same fiber as FIFA.........
    It can only mean that they bought Wideman's explanation of it being an accident.
    Good luck in the future NHL referee's.

  7. #7
    IHF Staff Steigs's Avatar
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    For the NHL 20 games is a HUGE suspension. Remember this is a league that generally gives 2-game suspensions for hits to the head. Out of an 82 game season.

    Compare that to a Euro league that plays maybe 50 games and suspends a player for 25 for CTTHANA.

    So, relatively speaking, this minimum 20 game suspension is a VERY hefty one. It costs the player upwards of a half-million dollars, as well.
    The NHL takes a lot of things pretty damned lightly. But within their fucked up structure, at least abuse of officials is taken seriously.

    If the contact was considered unintentional (for example, he was so rattled by the hit from behind that he took that he saw everything blurred and didn't really NOTICE the ref, even though looking at him), he would have only had a minimum of 10 games.
    And let's face it, if you've ever taken a hit to the head and been concussed from it, you ARE pretty messed up, and that scenario IS reasonable. That is, until you see the arms extend into a cross-check when he makes contact with the linesman. THEN it becomes an intentional attack on the ref and you hid the 20-game minimum.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steigs View Post
    For the NHL 20 games is a HUGE suspension. Remember this is a league that generally gives 2-game suspensions for hits to the head. Out of an 82 game season.

    Compare that to a Euro league that plays maybe 50 games and suspends a player for 25 for CTTHANA.

    So, relatively speaking, this minimum 20 game suspension is a VERY hefty one. It costs the player upwards of a half-million dollars, as well.
    The NHL takes a lot of things pretty damned lightly. But within their fucked up structure, at least abuse of officials is taken seriously.

    If the contact was considered unintentional (for example, he was so rattled by the hit from behind that he took that he saw everything blurred and didn't really NOTICE the ref, even though looking at him), he would have only had a minimum of 10 games.
    And let's face it, if you've ever taken a hit to the head and been concussed from it, you ARE pretty messed up, and that scenario IS reasonable. That is, until you see the arms extend into a cross-check when he makes contact with the linesman. THEN it becomes an intentional attack on the ref and you hid the 20-game minimum.
    I agree that from what length of suspensions NHL normally hands 20 is a lot; but its no wonder that head injuries is an epidemic when the penalty is so light for the offender! I mean compared to doping offenses in many sports were are talking about years.....
    Another important point being is that this was pretty unprecedented as it was obvious on the video footage that he indeed did cross-check the referee with intent. The concussed excuse doesn't work with me - we have tons of NHL players either being concussed or otherwise knocked hard and I haven't seen this kind of attack on a referee before (anyone has please let me know?).
    From concussed players I have seen they just tried to reach their box (and here they could in theory collide with someone) or were so out of it they had to be helped there.
    I just wonder why for this kind of unprecedented attack they go at the minimum 20 games according to their own rules. Going for minimum is hardly setting an example. All the signals they send was that they thought his attack was by intent (20 games) and not the cause of being rattled (10 games).
    That means he got NO penalty in his attempt on the post game interview of making this attack of intent into an "accident", where he only saw the referee at the last second.
    If he right after the game had admitted that he had seriously lost his head and very much apologized and accepted any penalty from NHL as his actions were inexcusable, I would consider not being ultra-harsh.
    His attempt to obscure the case into an accident sets a very dangerous precedent for future cases if all players now can see that playing the "oops didn't see him because I was disorientated" card is without consequences. It's down to 10 games of you get away with it and 20 if you do not, but nothing extra from trying the cover story.
    Seeing the reaction of so many fans actually buying his explanation is seriously not a good sign as it makes it already accepted - "poor guy couldn't help it when having the referee in the way going to the box concussed" - maybe we end with its the referee's own fault for having his head down if he is in the way of the puck?

    Hopefully 20 games is enough to dissuade players in the future from taking revenge on referees when they are angry a call didn't go their way, but for protecting referees I would have set a much stronger imprint on the minds of players and fans (future NHL hockey players starts normally as fans).

  9. #9
    IHF Member Ref72's Avatar
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    didn't read all the posts in detail but most must know now that Bettman upheld the 20 game suspension. It now goes to a neutral arbitrator. Having looked at this video numerous times, I can't see how Wideman expects people to believe he was not aware of the linesman's presence and that contact was essentially an accident. The video clearly shows that Wideman extended his arms and moved them to his left when he delivered a forceful cross-check. If he was unaware of the linesman, how did he know to move his arms to the left of where he was skating? The answer is he did know. I can understand a player's frustration for an infraction he felt was not called, but at best, Wideman's action was completely reckless even if he did not mean to injure the official. The Flames keep referring to Wideman's stellar record and that he has never been suspended. That's not the issue. His behavior should be judged based on the infraction in itself and its outcome. Speaking of outcome, the linesman who got hit has not officiated 1 game since the incident as he is still experiencing the impacts of the concussion he sustained. No one seems to be talking about that. Its strange that all the media attention seems to be focused on the player who committed the crime but not the victim who has been and continues to be impacted from a health perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ref72 View Post
    didn't read all the posts in detail but most must know now that Bettman upheld the 20 game suspension. It now goes to a neutral arbitrator. Having looked at this video numerous times, I can't see how Wideman expects people to believe he was not aware of the linesman's presence and that contact was essentially an accident. The video clearly shows that Wideman extended his arms and moved them to his left when he delivered a forceful cross-check. If he was unaware of the linesman, how did he know to move his arms to the left of where he was skating? The answer is he did know. I can understand a player's frustration for an infraction he felt was not called, but at best, Wideman's action was completely reckless even if he did not mean to injure the official. The Flames keep referring to Wideman's stellar record and that he has never been suspended. That's not the issue. His behavior should be judged based on the infraction in itself and its outcome. Speaking of outcome, the linesman who got hit has not officiated 1 game since the incident as he is still experiencing the impacts of the concussion he sustained. No one seems to be talking about that. Its strange that all the media attention seems to be focused on the player who committed the crime but not the victim who has been and continues to be impacted from a health perspective.
    It seems to be pretty symptomatic for the current "zeitgeist" - those committing the crime are the "victims" and the real victim is guilty of being in the way!
    I find it pretty incredible that Bettman is in fact under pressure from the players union (!) to reduce the sentence. That means that the vast majority of players think the 20 games for cross checking referees are way to harsh. Big number of hockey fans are of the same opinion.
    So thanks for actually bringing up this important point, that the referee is having long-term concussion effect after this hit. I'm still fairly perplexed that you haven't heard more outcry from other NHL referees, but maybe they have been ordered to silence by their employer (wouldn't surprise me if its their contracts?) and with the current economic climate very few will risk their jobs by being open mouthed?

    As an example of how much this tendency is escalating (incidents where players, coaches and/or parents are attacking refs):
    Source: http://scoutingtherefs.com/2016/02/1...l-hockey-game/

    Result will eventually be that no one would like to referee, especially at non-professional level where you are often not even paid for it.
    In the very olden days of football (at the time it split out from rugby) I've heard that referees could only make decisions if both the team captains agreed on it (correct me if I'm wrong). That would be marvelous to bring back since the player union apparently look so much out for each others well being. The referee could then sit safely away most of the game and let the team captains handle things in a gentleman way!

  11. #11
    IHF Member Ref72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justinov View Post
    I'm still fairly perplexed that you haven't heard more outcry from other NHL referees, but maybe they have been ordered to silence by their employer (wouldn't surprise me if its their contracts?) and with the current economic climate very few will risk their jobs by being open mouthed?

    Result will eventually be that no one would like to referee, especially at non-professional level where you are often not even paid for it.
    You are correct I believe - the NHL officials are banned from speaking with the media (as an example, NHE Ref Tim Peel opened a Twitter account last year and within 48 hours, it was deleted). Referees at the amateur level quitting? In Canada, its a HUGE problem with about 10,000 referees quitting from officiating minor hockey (Children age 5-18) every year due to verbal abuse and intimidation experiences (to less extend physical abuse). In my 25 years officiating minor hockey, I have had 4-5 experiences of physical abuse (a few of which I needed a police escort to be able to leave the arena in safety). I have never understood the culture we have in Canada with hockey - namely, some of the behavior I see in hockey arena's would get you arrested and thrown in jail if you did the same thing in the street. For some reason, we have a tolerance that it is "ok" to behave like that in a hockey environment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ref72 View Post
    You are correct I believe - the NHL officials are banned from speaking with the media (as an example, NHE Ref Tim Peel opened a Twitter account last year and within 48 hours, it was deleted). Referees at the amateur level quitting? In Canada, its a HUGE problem with about 10,000 referees quitting from officiating minor hockey (Children age 5-18) every year due to verbal abuse and intimidation experiences (to less extend physical abuse). In my 25 years officiating minor hockey, I have had 4-5 experiences of physical abuse (a few of which I needed a police escort to be able to leave the arena in safety). I have never understood the culture we have in Canada with hockey - namely, some of the behavior I see in hockey arena's would get you arrested and thrown in jail if you did the same thing in the street. For some reason, we have a tolerance that it is "ok" to behave like that in a hockey environment.
    In USA it is not only hockey, but also most other sports where referees are attacked and even killed (I read somewhere that Lacrosse was an exception - so apparently a lone civilized sport in the US)!
    Soccer played killed referee by punching him:
    Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...rs-prison.html
    Here is an attack from American Football, that apparently was ordered by the coach!
    Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQxiPg-nF-g

    Thanks for your history - 25 years of refereeing and you still dare doing it in spite of the obvious growing danger!
    Sport in general will have SERIOUS problem when your generation retire, because no way that young people will ever want to referee as things stands right now. 10.000 quitting minor hockey every year in Canada is just an insane number.
    With that rate you can probably calculate when youth and amateur hockey simply no longer will take place in Canada anymore??
    Only in pro-leagues where you have some kind of referee protection (and decent pay for the referee) will it likely survive and that is probably only because of the economic climate where jobs are otherwise hard to find and you have to get an income.*

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