NHL linesman Don Henderson has yet to return to the ice since sustaining a blindside hit last month from Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman. Wideman was suspended 20 games for the hit, and Henderson might never ref another game, according to new report.
The Calgary Sun reported Friday that the 47-year-old official continues to deal with post-concussion symptoms and back pain as a result of the illegal check, which took place during a Jan. 27 game between the Flames and Nashville Predators.
“He still can’t do anything because he hasn’t gone two days symptom-free,” a “source familiar with Henderson’s back pain and concussion” told the Sun. “I don’t think he’s coming back anytime soon, if at all.”
What’s more, the newspaper also reported that the powers that be could use the incident as a way of prodding Henderson, one of the league’s older officials, into retirement.
“Several sources told the Sun that Henderson had been feeling pressure from the NHL Officials Association long before the hit to retire as the association has been trying to get some of its older members to exit the game like 53-year-olds Mike Cvik and Rob Martell did earlier this year,” the Sun’s Eric Francis wrote Friday. “Henderson’s concussion could potentially expedite that process, meaning there’s a chance he’s officiated his last game.”
“We are extremely disappointed but not surprised that Gary Bettman upheld the decision of his staff to suspend Dennis Wideman for 20 games,” the NHL Players Association said in a statement, via ESPN.com. “This decision completely ignores the effects of the concussion that Dennis sustained when he was driven into the boards eight seconds before colliding with the linesman. We will appeal to the Neutral Discipline Arbitrator in order to have this decision overturned.”
Thumbnail photo via Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via NHL linesman Don Henderson