The NHL barred Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman 20 games Wednesday for cross-checking a linesman last week, the second-longest suspension in NHL history for abusing an official.

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Defenseman banned 20 games

The NHL barred Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman 20 games Wednesday for cross-checking a linesman 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 knocked down linesman Don Henderson during the Flames’ game against Nashville on Jan. 27.

“Wideman did not merely bump into or collide with the linesman,” the NHL said. “He delivered a forceful blow that was no accident.”

Wideman will lose $564,516 in salary as a result of the suspension. Only Gordie Dwyer of the Tampa Bay 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.


The U.S. Soccer Federation sued the union of its world championship women’s team, saying it fears players may attempt to strike ahead of this year’s Olympics.

In a complaint filed in federal court in Chicago, the USSF said Richard Nichols, executive director of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Players Association, has refused to acknowledge a Dec. 31 expiration date contained in a memorandum of understanding agreed to by the governing body and the union in March 2013.

The USSF claimed Nichols informed it Dec. 23 the deal will end Feb. 24 and at a meeting Wednesday refused to agree that the union would not strike before Dec. 31. The USSF asked the court to determine the CBA exists and has an expiration of Dec. 31.

Goalkeeper Hope Solo tweeted: “We players stand together, united in our fight for what is right and fair. (Hash) Equality.”

Holden forced to retire

American midfielder Stuart Holden, 30, is retiring from soccer, unable to recover from knee injuries that have sidelined him for most of the past four years.

In other news:

• The L.A. Galaxy acquired Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong, completing their third high-profile international move of the winter with the signing of the two-time World Cup veteran on a free transfer. De Jong spent the past four seasons with AC Milan.


Ko opens with 69

Top-ranked Lydia Ko shot a 3-under 69 in the Coates Golf Championship in Ocala, Fla., in her first round of the season, leaving her four strokes behind leader Ha Na Jang.

Jang made an 18-foot birdie putt on No. 18 for a bogey-free 65 and a three-stroke lead over six players.

U.S. Women’s Open champion In Gee Chun had a 68 in her first start as an LPGA Tour member. Sei Young Kim, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Kim Kaufman, Candie Kung and Kelly Tan also shot 68. Lexi Thompson was in the group at 69. She had only three pars on the first 14 holes, making seven birdies and four bogeys.


Federer has knee surgery

Roger Federer, 34, had arthroscopic knee surgery and will miss tournaments in Rotterdam and Dubai this month.

In other news:

• Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina said he will make a comeback from his latest injury this month at the Delray Beach Open in Florida. The former U.S. Open champion played only two tournaments last year before having surgery on his left wrist in June.

• Top seed Richard Gasquet of France comfortably reached the quarterfinals of the Open Sud de France in Montpellier by beating Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 6-4, 6-4. Second-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia went out to lowly ranked Alexander Zverev of Germany 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-1).

• Third-seeded Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil defeated Albert Montanes of Spain 6-2, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals of the Ecuador Open in Quito.

• Martin Klizan of Slovakia was the first player through to the quarterfinals of the inaugural Sofia Open in Bulgaria, defeating Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (7-4).


Ex-Mariner traded

The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired pitching prospect Jesse Biddle from the Philadelphia Phillies for right-handed pitcher Yoervis Medina, a former Mariner.

In other news:

• The New York Mets settled their last salary arbitration case, agreeing to a $4.1 million, one-year contract with closer Jeurys Familia.

• Alejandro Soto pitched into the sixth inning, Yuniesky Betancourt hit a two-run double and the Mazatlan Venados of Mexico beat Venezuela’s Aragua Tigers 6-4 for a spot in the semifinal round of the Caribbean Series in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Tim Means will be unable to fight in the main event of the UFC show in Pittsburgh on Feb. 21 due to a potential doping violation.

Means was scheduled to fight Donald Cerrone at the Consol Energy Center. The UFC said it will announce a replacement opponent shortly.


Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored again as host Paris Saint-Germain beat Lorient 3-1 to set a new French league record of 33 consecutive games unbeaten.

• Restricted free-agent guard Tiffany Hayes re-signed a multiyear deal with the Atlanta Dream.

• Second-year forward-center Elizabeth Williams was traded from the Connecticut Sun to the Atlanta Dream for the rights to the No. 4 pick in the 2016 draft.