The hockey world has been abuzz today with discussion of the “clock malfunction” in Los Angeles that cost the Blue Jackets the game last night.

We’ve all posited our different theories: a glitch with the clock. Home timekeeper buying the team a second. Accidental button push.

Well, throw those in the trash. I think.

Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi – or so it seems, Professor Dean Lombardi - is apparently so crazy smart that he either A) accurately explained what happened to the clock scientifically, or B) basically played a game of Balderdash with the hockey world, and is waiting for somebody to call his bluff.

Here’s how he explained it, as told to

“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 devise quite frankly.”

Oooooooooohhhhhhhhhh, nowww I get it.

I laughed out loud at “amazing device, quite frankly.” Not sure why, but I pictured him saying it in an English accent.

Either way, if the guy is smart enough to break it down like that for a reporter on the spot, I say “count it.” You win, I’ll assume your right, enjoy the victory.

Now, if you’re so smart, just one more question, Mr. Lombardi:

…..Dustin Penner?

Comments (23)

  1. Clocks… advanced technology… only been around 500 years… Dr Lombardi should spend some time with Dr Recchi and see if they can come up with a link between electronics and concussions…

    • By the way, his answer is technically complete and utter nonsense. A bunch of long words strung together in the hopes of shutting someone up. There may well be problems with arena clocks, but they have NOTHING to do with the number of coulombs of charge at work. That’s like saying your clock radio runs slow because you have too many lights turned on in your house.

      • Actually, no, it’s not like that analogy at all. Current isn’t constant. His explanation likely has some validity.

        If people are so concerned, why don’t they go through the game tape and see how many minutes of ‘on’ time they have?

        • There is another time base that is available to determine the delay in starting the clock, and that is the frame rate of the videotape. Using that, and counting the frames from the time of the start of play and the time the clock started changing, the delay works out to 1.28 seconds. If the delayed time of the goal was 0.4 or 0.6 seconds, that means there was anywhere from -0.88 to -0.68 seconds of actual, corrected time left. The goal was scored anywhere from a half to close to a full second after time expired, based on the timing from the video recordings.

      • His vernacular isn’t complete but he is essentially right. You can convert time from Columbs if you know amps and hz I believe.

      • Yes… you COULD design a clock like that… But why *would* you? You can also design a clock that uses gears driven by water, but it would be a bad idea. Any modern clock these days is based on a digital technology, such as an oscillator/counter. Is Staples center REALLY that old, that they are using some kind of crazy analog current based clock?

        Maybe its the case that all arenas work that way, but a better explanation would start “You know, the timers used in arenas were designed in the 50′s and some times they lag a bit in the display and need to catch up”.

  2. So the esteemed Professor Lombardi just made the case that the clock didn’t malfunction. Clearly this must mean the time keeper was to blame.


  3. Afterwards, Dean Lombardi showed James Bond his new car.

  4. I call complete and utter BS. If the clock was keeping regular day to day time, then yes, there would be the need to adjust occasionally for missed seconds due to earth rotation, but we’re talking about a simple timer counting down from 20 minutes to zero. Computers and clocks today are more than sophisticated enough to do that accurately without having to innately adjust themselves. If his explanation held any water then we would see things like this happen on arena clocks all the time, which we don’t. So to summarize, nice string of fancy words, but complete and utter BS.

    • The computers analogy doesnt hold water. A good friend of mine tried to build a metronome on his lap top and had huge issues. Essentially, the problem with more sophisticated devices (like computers and scoreboards) is you can write a super program to count the time but it takes a lot of work to ensure the display processor keeps up which is why clocks like this need to calibrate all the time.

  5. Does Professor Lombardi drive a delorean?

  6. “…..Dustin Penner?”

    I assume this is where Lombardi blew a fuse? “amazing device… amazing device… amazing device…”

  7. Haha he’s wrong right off the bat, “electrical charges called coulombs”…an electrical charge is an electrical charge, coulombs is the unit used. He has no idea what he’s talking about. It’s a tremendous attempt though.

    • Your comment is lacking. You are allowed to refer to something by the unit used to describe it. You can say “X Coulombs were recorded”.

      Take some first year university electrical courses, people.

  8. A coulomb is the quantity of electricity conveyed in one second by one amp of current. Because the current isn’t constant as is typically assumed, i.e. you don’t have a constant amperage, a clock that is keeping time by assuming a constant amperage does have to self-adjust.

    • Why are you assuming that the clock is making the typical assumption of constant current? Please see Peter Santangeli’s comment re:digital clocks.

  9. I would be interested to see how often this happens in games and nobody notices. If it happens at 12:38 of the 2nd period who will notice? This could be something that happens often and it happened at a obvious and unfortunate time.

  10. Anybody else remember the old clocks (like they had here at the old Sydney Forum). The clock hung at centre ice with four sides. Each side had a giant clock face with a minute hand and a second hand. THAT was an accurate piece of swiss engineering!!!:)

  11. I am just amazed that this clock malfunction happened when it did…no problems with it before and all of the sudden there is a problem that allows them to score. Wonder what he would be saying if the puck had gone in the Columbus net??? Don’t know what the answer to this problem is but dont really think it is fair to let LA have the two points just because there is no other answer.

    • Drama aside, it’s entirely possible that this has gone on before and nobody noticed because it didn’t happen during the last few seconds of a tie game where the go ahead goal was scored in the final tics and therefor worthy of review.

  12. LA has been on a short end of lot of NHL bad calls. So they had one go their way. So what. It evens out at the end of the season any way. You all lighten up…

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