November 18, 2009
We've seen NHL coaches get angry at a lot of things in postgame rants: Themselves, their opponents, their own players, the officiating crew, some guy in back of the bench who's taunting their players and deserves to have a water bottle thrown at them. But the arena clock operator? That's a rarity.
Nashville Predators Coach Barry Trotz was an angry man after Tuesday night's home game at Sommet Center, even after a victory against the first-place San Jose Sharks. You see, the clock operator slipped up twice in the third period in pretty significant ways: Allowing the game clock to keep running and expire after Patrick Marleau(notes) scored with 52 seconds left to cut the lead to 4-3; and then doing it again when there was an icing call with three seconds left.
The delays in correcting those mistakes late in the game had Trotz fuming, according to The Examiner:
"That gave them a free timeout for about three minutes, and that's five guys who can do damage on any given night," the Preds bench boss said. "We have to get it corrected, but it is absolutely unacceptable for a home team."
In the final few seconds of play, the Predators were whistled for icing, but the clock operator had a non-itchy trigger finger again and let the remaining time run down to 0.0. The officials again had to review the replay to determine how much time should have remained when the icing was whistled. Following another delay, 3.0 seconds were put up on the clock.
"It happened twice with three seconds to go," Trotz said. "I think the referees were embarrassed and they just said there are three seconds left. We should have home-ice advantage."
Wait, is he advocating for the fudging of clock management in favor of the home team? In any case, the victory spared the world the sight of Trotz waddling into the referees' room and saying some bad-ass line like, "I'm about to make time fly ..." before unleashing the fury. From The Tennessean:
"I don't think I'm in a good mood to listen to any of their explanations," Trotz said regarding the off-ice officials. "They have to get it right. If (San Jose) scored another goal, I'm sure I'd be out the door and into the officials' room. It's uncalled for. It happened twice. They're going to check the clock again? Are you kidding me?"