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Clockgate: NHL says Los Angeles malfunction was human error, not ‘science’

Sean Leahy
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NHL.com

"Those clocks are sophisticated instruments that calculate time by measuring electrical charges called coulombs — given the rapidity and volume of electrons that move through the measuring device the calibrator must adjust at certain points which was the delay you see. The delay is just recalibrating for the clock moving too quickly during the 10—10ths of a second before the delay. This insures that the actual playing time during a period is exactly 20 minutes.

"That is not an opinion -— that is science -— amazing device quite frankly."

How can you not love Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi after an explanation like that?

Lombardi was explaining the odd clock malfunction at the end of a game in February against the Columbus Blue Jackets that saw time stand still with 1.8 seconds remaining and allowed Drew Doughty to score the winning goal:

On his radio show that week Commissioner Gary Bettman said the NHL was investigating what happened. Almost six months later, we finally have an answer: human error.

Sean Fitz-Gerald of the National Post confirmed it was human error via NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. He also spoke with Peter Hurzeler, the man in charge of all timing at the London Olympics, who explained that the pausing of the clock at 1.8 seconds was manual, citing that clocks do not know how to stop on their own.

From the National Post:

The off-ice officials in charge of the clock that night in Los Angeles worked for the NHL. It was not immediately clear whether the human error was strictly accidental, or whether anyone has been disciplined.

"[They] did a good job for the home team," Hurzeler said with a smile on Thursday.

That wasn't the last clock malfunction of the season. During Game 4 of the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins series the final 9.5 seconds of third period lasted 14.8 seconds, thanks to a break in communication between the on- and off-ice officials. There was nothing nefarious in that situation, but in the case of the Kings and Blue Jackets, we may never know.

Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

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