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Wideman ruling won't come this week

Flames defenseman appealing 20-game suspension

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

DENVER -- The arbitrator ruling on the appeal of Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman's 20-game suspension told the NHL and NHL Players' Association he won't have a decision until the week of March 7, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said at Coors Field on Saturday.

The appeal hearings took place Thursday and Friday.

Wideman was suspended by the NHL without pay on Feb. 3 for being in violation of Rule 40 (Physical Abuse of Officials) during a game against the Nashville Predators on Jan. 27. He hit linesman Don Henderson at 11:19 of the second period. The suspension requires Wideman to forfeit $564,516.20 in salary that goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

Wideman served the 13th game of the suspension Saturday. He is ineligible to play until March 14.

"This is different than the typical supplementary discipline case because it was a different type of defense so there were different witnesses that had to testify," Daly said. "The arbitrator has told us that he doesn't anticipate being able to side on the case until the week of March 7. I think the parties are going to do a post-hearing brief that's actually at the Players' Association request on Friday, so we'll see what happens."

Daly said the post-hearing brief is in lieu of an oral closing argument and it's for the benefit of the arbitrator. In addition, Daly said neither the NHL nor the NHLPA has expressed frustration in the length of the appeal process, which is now at 24 days since the suspension was announced and the NHLPA said it would initiate the appeal process on behalf of Wideman.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman ruled to uphold the suspension on Feb. 17. That day, the NHLPA announced it would appeal to the Neutral Discipline Arbitrator.

"In regards to the scheduling of the process, 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, but that's not to disparage anybody because the case is a little bit different," Daly said. "Obviously from the player's perspective, the monetary penalty is significant and I think he wants a fair hearing on whether that's a fair monetary penalty. I can't speak for him, but I don't think either party has a concern with the process itself. It is what it is."

Daly said Wideman will be compensated for games he inappropriately missed if the arbitrator rules to reduce the suspension back to games he should have been eligible to play.

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