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Bettman on clock malfunction: “We are taking this very seriously”

Feb 2, 2012, 8:10 PM EDT

Gary Bettman Getty Images

If you were expecting the typical round of vague non-answers from the NHL regarding the clock malfunction in Los Angeles, commissioner Gary Bettman isn’t providing them. Bettman acknowledged that human or technological errors could have occurred, but he didn’t dodge the issue, as you can read on NHL.com.

“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.”

“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.”

Wait, so does this mean that we cannot rely on Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi’s seemingly flawless scientific explanation? Bummer.

The NHL.com story includes this intriguing idea that might give the NHL a little more ammo in avoiding – or at least identifying – these problems in the future.

Bettman added the League’s IT department is in the process of having specially manufactured high-definition cameras installed in the nets prior to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and he’s asked about a possible “software upgrade or application where if a clock isn’t moving the way it’s supposed to, it’ll set off alarms in the Situation Room in Toronto, so that we can at least know.”

Interesting stuff.

More on this story:

Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson fumes on the subject, but the team takes his rant off their official site.

Other Western Conference playoff contenders might be upset that the Kings seemingly got a free point and win, but Calgary Flames GM Jay Feaster says his team isn’t crying about it.

Here’s your uncomfortable headline of the day: “Vancouver Grizzlies feel the Blue Jackets’ pain.”

  1. lewdood - Feb 3, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    Unless the NHL has something similar to college & pro basketball, where the clock is controlled remotely by referee’s whistles, this wasn’t a technical error or a human “error”. This was purposeful.

    Some game clocks will, in fact, “pause” momentarily on certain tenths when the time gets below 1:00, because it can’t display the tenths changing fast enough, but the Kings’ clock sat on 1.8 seconds for a full second.

    I’ve worked game clocks in college sports before. I never f’d with the clock in the final seconds of a game to give an advantage to the home team, but I have done similar “stop/starts” during play to make up for inadvertent delays I had in stopping the clock previously. Basically if I forgot to stop a clock for a second or two after a whistle, I’d quickly click the clock on/off after I restart it to add the seconds back without keeping the clock held on “stop”.

    There was sustained Kings offensive pressure in those last few seconds of the game, and I would put this squarely on the person operating the clock at the Staples Center for that game. Don’t know if he’s a Kings employee, Staples Center employee, or NHL employee, but whoever he/she is, I’d be asking that person some questions.

    Who knows, maybe he thought a whistle was blown at some point when the Jackets goalie dove out, but until the league gets answers from that person, the spotlight needs to point there.

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