NEW YORK — The NHL suspended Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman 20 games on Wednesday for cross-checking a linesman during a game last week, the second-longest suspension in NHL history for abusing an official.

Wideman was suspended for violating the league rule on physical abuse of officials after he struck linesman Don Henderson and knocked him down during the Flames’ game against Nashville on Jan. 27.

The 32-year-old will forfeit $564,516 in salary as a result of the suspension.

Only Gordie Dwyer of the Lightning, who was suspended 23 games in part for abuse of officials during an exhibition game in 2000, was suspended longer for such a violation.

Wideman had a hearing with the NHL’s department of hockey operations on Tuesday that included representatives from the Players’ Association and NHL Officials Association. The NHLPA announced Wednesday night it had filed an appeal on Wideman’s behalf.

“We strongly disagree with the League’s decision to suspend Dennis Wideman,” the NHLPA said in a statement. “Dennis has played in 11 NHL seasons and almost 800 games without incident. The facts, including the medical evidence presented at the hearing, clearly demonstrate that Dennis had no intention to make contact with the linesman.”

After the game last week, Wideman said he was in pain after a hit from the Predators’ Miikka Salomaki and couldn’t avoid hitting Henderson. He was not penalized and skated over to the officials and apologized moments later.

“Throughout my career – and I’ve been around for a few years – I think I’ve treated every official with the utmost respect,” Wideman said, “and I would never intentionally try to hit a linesman or a ref or anything like that.”

Wideman has no previous history of on- or off-ice incidents and is a player who avoids penalties, with just 30 penalty minutes in 48 games this season.

AVALANCHE: A jury sided with goalie Semyon Varlamov on Tuesday in a lawsuit filed against him by a former girlfriend who claimed he beat her during an argument in 2013.

RANGERS: Defenseman Kevin Klein, who left Tuesday’s game in New Jersey after a check from the Devils’ Reid Boucher, has a fractured thumb and is out indefinitely.


SABRES 4, CANADIENS 2: Jamie McGinn, Johan Larsson and Brian Gionta all scored in the third period as Buffalo rallied past the slumping Canadiens at Montreal.

LIGHTNING 3, RED WINGS 1: Ben Bishop made 24 saves to get 100th win with Tampa Bay, Nikita Kucherov scored his 21st goal, and the Lightning won at home.

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