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Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman suspended 20 games for blindside hit on referee

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Accidental or not, Wideman will be sitting for a long time.

Harry How/Getty Images

The NHL came down hard on Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman on Wednesday, suspending the veteran for 20 games following his blindside hit on a referee.

The decision was made after a hearing with Wideman on Tuesday. Wideman is forfeiting $564,517 in salary as part of the suspension.

The incident in question occurred on Jan. 27 as the Flames took on the Nashville Predators. Wideman took a big hit along the boards in his own zone from Predators forward Miikka Salomaki and looked dazed as he got up. As he skated towards the bench, he seemed to violently shove referee Don Henderson to the ice.

Henderson had to leave the game for a minute but returned soon after. However, he did spend the night in the hospital with neck pains and nausea. Wideman, for his part, called him and tried to apologize.

Reports on Tuesday from his hearing with the league claimed Wideman argued he was "woozy" or "foggy" as the event unfolded.