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Burke blasts Bettman for ‘incomprehensible’ time it took for Wideman ruling

Bob McKenzie provides further updates regarding Gary Bettman's decision to uphold the 20-game suspension of Dennis Wideman. Text messages led Bettman to question Wideman's sincerity, but expect an appeal.

Brian Burke appeared on Sportsnet’s Tim & Sid in the wake of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman upholding Dennis Wideman’s 20-game suspension for hitting linesman Don Henderson -- and, as you might expect, was none too pleased with the way things unfolded.

“To take a week to rubber-stamp a decision that was made by the hockey operations department of the National Hockey League -- as games tick off for my player, that affect my team’s ability to win, that affect playoff races, that affect competitive balance -- is incomprehensible to me,” Burke fumed.

He also noted Calgary had been asking for an appeal hearing result for “several days.”

Wideman’s appeal was heard on Feb. 10 (last Wednesday, seven days ago). Per a release by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, that hearing was approximately six hours in length.

Burke didn’t object to just the timing and drawn-out nature of the appeal, however.

Much like he did in a statement released back in early February, he said he and the organization disagreed with the length and severity of Wideman’s original suspension ruling.

“We disagree vehemently with the the decision that was reached here,” Burke explained. “We were astonished by it, we don’t understand it, we disagree with it completely.

“We’re not questioning the integrity of the process. The appeal has gone to the commissioner. If all he’s going to do is rubber-stamp it, we accept that. But then do it quickly, so it can get to this third party.”

That third party?

It’s fair to see why Burke is upset about the time it’s taken for Wideman’s appeal process to play out. The Flames defenseman has already sat out seven games, with No. 8 coming tonight against Minnesota.

Noting it’ll take a few days for Widemans’ appeal to reach a neutral arbitrator, Burke suggested his player was “virtually guaranteed” to miss 10 games.