Earlier today on Backhand Shelf, Daniel Wagner highlighted the Los Angeles Kings game-winning goal from last night, in which Drew Doughty scored with less than a second remaining in the third period, giving LA the win, narrowly avoiding overtime. The only lil’ problem with it was that the clock mysteriously stopped for over a second as time ran down.
The options are then that A) the clock had a teeny-tiny malfunction, or B) the time keeper wanted to help out the home team as they swarmed the Columbus Blue Jackets’ net on a powerplay in the dying seconds.
Columbus GM Scott Howson took to the interwebs this morning and wrote a blog post with his thoughts on the matter, and I think it’s safe to say he’s leaning towards column B.
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.”
In his blog, Howson talks about the NHL’s investigation (which has officially been launched), and why despite the fact that “We, the Blue Jackets, are in last place and it is likely not going to affect our place in the standings,” there are actually a good many reason why the investigation matters to Columbus, and to the League as a whole.
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.
In addition, this result matters to every other team in the Western Conference that is competing with Los Angeles for a playoff spot. We will never know if the Kings would have got the extra point in overtime or shootout, but they may not have. 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. No one can ever convince me that this result does not matter.
Well said, Mr. Howson.
So, the NHL’s investigation is under way. They’re saying that regardless of what they find, the result will stand. I’m of the mind that, though it won’t matter, they should at least chuck Columbus a point. It won’t affect anything, and they clearly earned it.
Either way, Howson is spot on. That little glitch affected the standings going forward, so if they do find it was a person helping out the home team, there better be a new person in the timekeeper’s booth the next time the puck drops in the STAPLES Center