Linesman Don Henderson is still recovering from a hit that ended his season — and possibly his career.
Henderson was hit from behind by Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman on January 27, 2016. While Henderson finished the game, he was later diagnosed with a concussion and missed the remainder of the season.
The veteran official reportedly had neck surgery three weeks ago to repair two ruptured disks.
The Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont spoke with an NHL official about Henderson’s status:
“I know a lot of people are saying stuff like, ‘Hey, Wideman’s not that type of guy . . . that’s not in his nature . . . he’s a good kid,’ ’’ said one of Henderson’s longtime pals in stripes. “And I say, ‘Yeah, so what?!’ That doesn’t make it any less egregious.”
“He attacked him from behind, the puck was nowhere near the two of them, and now Henderson’s career may be finished. I don’t see much difference between what he did and Wayne Maki cracking his stick over Teddy Green’s head.’’
Wideman was suspended for 20 games for the hit. The suspension was later reduced to 10 games by independent arbitrator James Oldham. The NHL has filed to vacate the reduction. Oldham has since been dismissed as the league’s neutral discipline arbitrator.
Back in February, Sportnet’s Eric Francis reported on the possibility of Henderson’s return.
“I don’t think he’s coming back anytime soon, if at all,” said a source close to Henderson. “At this point, it makes sense to shut ’er down. He only had one or two years left anyway.”
Sadly, the latest reports don’t bode well for the 47-year-old veteran official. Here’s hoping his 1,293rd game wasn’t his last.
Our thoughts are with Henderson and his family, wishing him a full recovery.
(Featured image: Mark Mauno)