Blog Entry

Clock error helps Kings; Jackets GM's reaction

Posted on: February 2, 2012 9:33 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 4:52 pm

By Brian Stubits

When it's not your year, it's just not your year. What other non-sensical explanation can the Columbus Blue Jackets have after Wednesday night's loss to the Los Angeles Kings?

In a 2-2 game and the Kings on a power play in the final minute, the Kings pulled their best Staples Center co-tenant Kobe Bryant and pulled a rabbit out of their hat by way of a Drew Doughty goal with 0.4 seconds left in the game. That's bad enough for the Blue Jackets.

Making it worse? It probably shouldn't have counted. There was nothing wrong with the goal itself and the puck did go in before the clock showed 0:00.00. However the clock should have already been at 0 when Doughty scored.

Here is a look at the goal from the broadcast perspective.

If you were watching the action on the ice leading up to Doughty's goal, you probably didn't notice what was going on with the clock. So here's another angle, one you can't miss.

The clock comes to a stop for roughly a full second at the 1.8 mark. If Doughty scored with 0.4 left on the clock ... you can see why the Blue Jackets are upset.

"I don’t have any official report," Blue Jackets interim coach Todd Richards said to the Columbus Dispatch. "But watching the replay and talking to the producer who does our show [On Fox Sports Ohio], the clock stopped at 1.8 and stopped for 1.5 seconds. They scored with 0.5.

"I’m really disappointed for the players."

I suppose it's possible that the clock on the broadcasts didn't match the actual game clocks, but that's something I'm not going to put my money on.

One of the things I love about the Blue Jackets is the accessability and outreach of their general manager Scott Howson. He's active on Twitter. He even has his a blog he posts rather candid updates on. Here is some of his latest entry (the blog has since been removed because Howson reportedly felt some opinions were "made too strongly")

I spoke with (NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations) Colin Campbell on two occasions after the game. Sometimes in watching the game on television there can be confusion with respect to the game clock. Some television broadcasts use their own game clock that is not official with the rink. However, and after double checking, Colin confirmed that we were actually seeing the official game clock stop for one full second. Therefore, when you do the math, Drew Doughty actually scored 0.4 seconds after time had expired, which means the goal should have been disallowed and should have gone to overtime. Colin has promised me that the NHL will investigate this to try and figure out how this happened.

It is an amazing coincidence that with the Kings on a power play at STAPLES Center and with a mad scramble around our net in the dying seconds of the third period of a 2-2 hockey game that the clock stopped for at least one full second. I can only think of two ways in which this would have happened. Either there was a deliberate stopping of the clock or the clock malfunctioned.

It’s easy to say that this doesn’t matter. We, the Blue Jackets, are in last place and it is likely not going to affect our place in the standings. However, in my opinion, this matters in many respects. It matters to our players, to our coaches, every person in our organization and our fans. In talking with our coaches and Craig Patrick, our players played with passion, tenacity, grit, determination and competitiveness after a rather embarrassing loss in San Jose the night before. This tremendous effort was put in without four of our top six defensemen (James Wisniewski, Nikita Nikitin, Marc Methot and Radek Martinek) and with Jeff Carter, Ryan Johansen, Mark Letestu and Kristian Huselius also out of the lineup. We will never know if we should have had one point or two points in the standings. What we do know is that we should not have had zero. Anyone who has competed at a high level of sports knows that when you put everything into a game, the result matters. And to have the result altered unfairly stings.

Colin Campbell spoke up for the league on Thursday.

"We didn't even look to go back and say 'OK, did something happen [with the clock]?'" Campbell, the NHL's senior executive vice president of hockey operations, said.

"When it crosses the line [and] you review it, you back the puck out and you see what the clock was. And the clock was 0.4 [seconds].

"And then after the game, minutes after the game, we see [it and say] 'Holy cow.'"

Campbell spoke further with the Columbus Dispatch.

"This is a tough pill for the Columbus fans to swallow, and we know that," NHL VP of game operations Colin Campbell told The Dispatch.

The NHL began investigating the incident late last night and has had multiple conversations with Howson. The league has acknowledged to Howson that the goal should not have counted, and they're looking into it further, to the extent that NHL staffers are on the way to Los Angeles to investigate.

"We're not questioning (the clock operator's) integrity," Campbell said. "But we're going to open all doors and examine everything, to see what happened and how we can keep it from happening again."

In the grand scheme of things, you figure this isn't a whole lot to get worked up about. The Blue Jackets are dead last and would probably be better off not getting a point or two in the long run to make sure they have the best odds come lottery draft time. Good luck telling that to the players and fans who feel robbed, though.

Where this could possibly be a bigger deal is if the Kings sneak into the playoffs by a point. They are currently holding onto the seventh spot out West, so if it comes down to the slimmest of margins, this will be remembered. Of course it's entirely possible the Kings would have earned the second point in overtime, but just playing the odds the Kings have the second most post-regulation losses this season with 10.

And I'll just say this: Before the conspiracy theorists start, save your breath. No way stopping the clock for that short of time could be predicted to be enough to allow Doughty to score in that spot. Any possible theory I can think of is pure lunacy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.


Since: Jun 7, 2010
Posted on: February 3, 2012 2:58 pm

Clock error helps Kings; Jackets GM's reaction

@hockeyfan LA - ok the team sucks but this is hardly much ado about nothing.  If this wasn't such a big deal (game winning goal) how would we ever come to realize that this may/may not occur throughout the game anyway.  Just shows you how much a fraction of a second can matter.  I looked to see if both clocks paused at the same time and they both did so I don't know what in the hell is going on. 

Since: Jun 24, 2008
Posted on: February 2, 2012 10:31 pm

Clock error helps Kings; Jackets GM's reaction

At the very least, Columbus should get a point for a tie.  And, to be perfectly fair, L.A. should have a point taken away from them because they didn't actually win the game and it was THEIR clock that misfired causing this problem.  Each organization is responsible for ensuring that these devices work and the Kings, obviously, screwed up somewhere along the line.  In order to protect the integrity of the games, and in order to discourage anyone else from playing around with these things, L.A. simply cannot be rewarded for this situation.  Each team gets a point and you can put an asterisk on each team's final record, if you want.  But I doubt that the NHL will do this because, well...they're the NHL.  Might as well expect clams and mussels to solve complex quadratic equations.

Since: Aug 27, 2006
Posted on: February 2, 2012 7:44 pm

Clock error helps Kings; Jackets GM's reaction

Sure if I was a Kings fan I'd want it dropped too!!!! hahahaha NHL dropped the ball(puck) on this one. I like the idea of letting them meet at the end of the regular season if that point matter's in ANY way shape or form for ANY playoff spot for the Kings, wont happen but it's a damn good idea!

Since: Sep 30, 2011
Posted on: February 2, 2012 2:25 pm

Clock error helps Kings; Jackets GM's reaction

Here's the thing, can anyone really tell if the clock would have expired?  Was the "glitch" longer than .3 seconds?  To me it's much ado about nothing.  Columbus is not affected by this, at least not negatively.  By not getting a point they increase their lottery hopes.  I can see why San Jose and a few other Western Conference teams might be upset.
Nobody knows what might have happened if the game goes OT, but the Kings would have had :57 seonds with a 4 on 3 advantage.....
How about we drop it and add it to the pile of bad or missed calls league wide this season that surely have had an impact on the standings.  This one happened to go the Kings way, very unusual for sure.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: February 2, 2012 1:29 pm

Clock error helps Kings; Jackets GM's reaction

I agree, it's almost like a bad comedy. The Jackets suck but they should at least be given a chance to  games like this. It's unfortunate but there's nothing that can be done at this point. The guy running the clock at Staples should probably be reprimanded in some fashion, but that probably won't happen.

There is a very good chance that extra point LA picked up is going to matter at the end of the season, one way or another.  And there is also a chance that extra regulation win is going to matter since I believe that's how ties are broken now by regulation and o.t wins and not by overall wins.  Shootout wins don't count as much in a tie breaker like they used to....  LA could have lost this game in overtime which I believe is considered regulation or lost in a shootout which would have meant only one point.  Even a shootout win versus yesterday's result can be a massive difference in the end in the standings.  

The league can't let this slide.....

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: February 2, 2012 1:23 pm

Clock error helps Kings; Jackets GM's reaction

I know this is going to sound REALLY STUPID to some people ( probably all people) on these boards but I'm going to say it anyway. 

For now, take a point away from the Kings and give Columbus the point they deserve.  At the end of the season if it's determined by standings that an extra point could mean anything for either team, then Columbus travels back to LA to play the overtime period and shootout if necessary.  Any fan with a ticket stub or proof of purchase for yesterday's game gets in free if they choose to go.

To me that's the only way to solve this problem.  Columbus gets what they deserve and if that extra point is going to matter at the end of the season for either team ( more then likely LA) they are forced to earn it, not having it handed to them by a home ice clock official.

Since: Mar 30, 2010
Posted on: February 2, 2012 12:50 pm

Clock error helps Kings; Jackets GM's reaction

wow that definately shouldn't count. How they missed that on replay is absurd! This is a bad mark on the league

Since: Oct 28, 2006
Posted on: February 2, 2012 11:41 am

Clock malfunction helps Drew Doughty beat buzzer

It shouldn't matter that the jackets have nothing to play for, the kings are fighting for a playoff spot and this isn't fair to the teams they're chasing and the ones chasing them, also the integrity of the league would be in question, it helped me out, I have doughty on my team, but this looked deliberate.

Since: Apr 17, 2010
Posted on: February 2, 2012 11:31 am

Clock malfunction helps Drew Doughty beat buzzer

This reminds me of the Michigan State-Michigan football game in 2001 when the clock stopped at 1 second for about 2 seconds in the 4th quarter when they were down 4. The game was at Spartan Stadium. TJ Duckett ended up catching the winning touchdown on the next play.

I agree, it's almost like a bad comedy. The Jackets suck but they should at least be given a chance to win games like this. It's unfortunate but there's nothing that can be done at this point. The guy running the clock at Staples should probably be reprimanded in some fashion, but that probably won't happen.

Since: Jul 1, 2010
Posted on: February 2, 2012 11:18 am

Clock malfunction helps Drew Doughty beat buzzer

It is amazing what happens to the Bluejackets this year, absolutely unreal.  
It's like a bad comedy movie.     Gotta feel bad for the players with some of the stuff they've had to go through this year.

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