Tenths Of A Second: NHL Will Investigate Clock Error Leading To Kings' Win

Feb 2, 2012

With less than a second to go, the Los Angeles Kings' Drew Doughty managed slip the puck into the net leading to a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Officials reviewed the goal and found that the puck crossed the goal line with four-tenths of a second on the clock. You can see the replay here:

What you don't see on this video is what's become the talk of the NHL. At the 1.8 second mark, the clock inexplicably stopped. The blog My Hockey Buzz looked at the video and put together four screen captures, which show the action moving but the clock frozen for what they say was at least a second and as long as two.

Now, ESPN reports, the NHL said it would investigate the error that could have an "enormous impact" on the playoff race in the Western Conference. They add:

"The NHL's video room looked at the play immediately after the goal was scored, but didn't notice that the clock had stopped running while the Kings were buzzing around the net.

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

"'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."'"

After the game, yesterday, the The Blue Jackets' general manager took to his blog to complain. Scott Howson was upset even though his team has one of the worst records in the league.

"We will never know if the Kings would have got the extra point in overtime or shootout, but they may not have," Howson wrote in a blog post, according to The Globe and Mail, USA Today and the blog The Score. "This extra point in the standings could have an enormous impact both competitively and economically. What if the Kings make the playoffs by one point or gain home ice advantage by one point?

"We could be talking about a team not making the playoffs and missing out on millions of dollars in playoff gates."

By the time we got to it, Howson's post appeared to have been deleted from his blog. But according to My Hockey Buzz, which also quotes the blog post, Howson also seemed to imply the time keeper was trying to give the home team some advantage.

"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," Howe wrote. "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."

The Los Angeles Times reports that the time is controlled by an NHL employee.

Still there are plenty of questions surrounding this story: Does any of this matter, if as we suspect, these kinds of mistakes happen throughout a game? Are mistakes from officials just part of the game? Are there any creative ways to keep these errors from happening in the future?

The only that is for sure is that the NHL admits the goal should not have counted but it says the score and the win are official and will not change.

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