Kings Clock Controversy: Previous time lags in LA, Colin Campbell vs. technology

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Previously on the Kings Clock Controversy: Drew Doughty scored a game-winning goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets with 0.4 seconds left on Wednesday because the game clock had frozen for a full second at 1.8 seconds remaining. GM Scott Howson wrote an angry blog, took it down, and the NHL told him that the goal shouldn't have counted and that they're opening an investigation. Kings GM Dean Lombardi offered a technical explanation for the mishap (coulombs!), which the NHL's Colin Campbell dismissed: "I don't think that's the deal in this case."

Perhaps, though, Staples Center just has a rather crappy clock? Check this out [via Reddit CBJ]:

Assuming this is, or this follows, the game clock, it appears to freeze at 3.9 and 2.1 seconds late in the Kings' 3-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Unless, of course, there's a nefarious timekeeper delaying the inevitable to make the home team feel worse about their failure. (Mwuhahahaha!)

The NHL reaction to this controversy -- and as Eric Francis writes, it's not to be taken completely lightly -- has been interesting, as both Gary Bettman and Colin Campbell took to the airwaves on Thursday to admit the goal shouldn't have counted and to offer varying degrees of outrage (and in one case befuddlement) about it.

NHL senior VP of hockey operations Campbell, speaking on Sportsnet radio's Prime Time Sports, said what many have asked about this situation: Should there be extra emphasis on the last few minutes of a game or not?

"When is it important? There will be times when a clock runs down too far in a game, or they'll have a false drop and they'll just hold the clock for two seconds because that's how much they started when there's a false drop," he said. "But it gets important in the last minute. When do we start watching? Sixty seconds down? Thirty seconds down?"

The full interview is here:

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From Bettman on his NHL Home Ice radio show:

"Not good, not acceptable -- if [the clock] had run straight through, the game would have been at a tie at that point, would have gone to overtime," Bettman said. "And maybe L.A. would have won anyway, maybe not. That's not the point. We are taking this very seriously. We're investigating as to how it happened. Obviously it's either human error or a technology glitch. We don't know which, but we've already begun investigating and we will get to the bottom of it.

"Now I know lots of people are going to say, 'How can you have a mistake?' Well, unfortunately or fortunately, our game is full of mistakes -- by players, by coaches and occasionally by officials -- and on some levels it's no different than if a guy makes a bad penalty call, puts a team on the power play and they score the winning goal. It happens. We don't like when it happens and our job is to minimize mistakes. We don't want any, but obviously when you have a human element in any aspect of the game you're going to have it.

"If we had any reason to believe that this was intentional we would deal with it in a whole different way, but we're going to investigate it, get to the bottom of it."

Bettman also said he hopes the NHL's IT department can come up with some way that alerts the War Room when there's a clock malfunction.

(May we suggest a somewhat arcane method of policing the effectiveness of that technology: Watching the [expletive] clock during a goal review.)

Alas, there are those in the NHL front office that are handy with emerging technologies (new sheriff) and not-so-much (old sheriff).

Here is Colin Campbell on Sportsnet, discussing the ever-changing world of talking thought boxes and the InterTubes:

"How exact are we getting in this world of technology? I see things on TV. There's tragedies occurring: People are getting buried by avalanches, planes are turning over in the water and people are stopping to YouTube it. They're not rescuing the people. Everything is on YouTube now. Everything in this world and the technology. Even we had a situation where people were supposing a player spit at another player. They picked it up on YouTube. Can you doctor YouTube? Do we use YouTube as evidence or do we just use the broadcast camera?

"There's all things that are entering the fray these days. We're examining both the human element in operating the clock and whether there was a glitch in the technical aspect of the clock."

It was at this point we realized that the guy dismissing Dean Lomardi's "that is not an opinion -- that is science -- amazing device quite frankly" explanation for the clock malfunction is the same guy who didn't know that emails could be used as evidence in a hearing or that they could be found after he sent them from a BlackBerry.

And the same guy who thinks we spend hours inserting CGI loogies into game clips, or that doesn't see the YouTube clips as a guide to find the actual game footage rather than using it as Exhibit A.

Then again, Deadspin isn't exactly buying the Kings' argument either.

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