Just reading the summary of last night’s Kings vs. Blue Jackets game you could tell that something special happened. Doughty scores the game winner with less than a second remaining in order to save his team from overtime?! Incredible. As it turns out, it may have been even more incredible than that. upon viewing the replay, it appears the game clock froze for a second and a half, which means that time should have expired before Doughty’s winner went in. As my nerd friends would say, “What kind of sorcery is this?!”
Since I’m a Kings blogger and I’m very obviously biased, I’m going to play devil’s advocate. So here are a few reasons why it matters the Kings won, and a few reasons why it’s moot.
It matters because…
The Kings got a point they may not have gotten. And they got it in regulation. If it comes down to some tie-breaker to get the Kings into the playoffs, this could be a point of contention. Well, it will be for the team that loses the tie-break, but for the league this is a win and that’s that. If I were the fan of a team that loses that tie-breaker, I’d be irate that there wasn’t some way to overturn that goal.
The Blue Jackets picked up a loss. They could have squeaked out at least 1 point with overtime, but they didn’t even get that. While I’m sure the odds that they’ll reach the playoffs is minuscule, it’s still not fair for them. Nor is it fair for the team that may be going up against them come lottery selection time for the draft. Maybe the Carolina Hurricanes would have a chance to nab Nail, but the Jackets get the lotto pick. Hmmm…
There’s always the chance that this is a systematic problem. I mean that literally, like within the clock system the NHL uses. Perhaps this happens more than we know. This one also falls on the other side of the line too, which I’ll get to in a minute.
Really those are the only reasons it matters but they are big reasons. I’m sure someone is pulling their hair out in the NHL offices today over this issue. Probably not Gary Bettman, and not just because he’s bald.
It doesn’t really matter because…
You play until the whistle (or horn) and Doughty scored legitimately. Player’s know they play until the game is over and if I’m the Blue Jackets coach I’m a little mad at my players for not clearing the puck.
It’s on par with other in-game type mistakes. For instance, how many times have we as hockey fans seen a goal that is clearly a good goal get waved off because the ref thought it was a high-stick, or goalie interference, or something else that really didn’t happen at all upon the replay? I still get angry knowing 6’5″ Martin Hanzal batted a puck in basically off his nose and the ref called it a good goal. Playing a game with refs making decisions is inherently flawed and those flaws become part of the game. Now we know that the computers and clock make mistakes too. Do you still want a computer chip inside the puck telling you if it’s a good goal or not?
Maybe I’m reaching a bit here but how do we know the clock wasn’t self adjusting for rolling too long. Imagine every millisecond the clock runs long during a game and how much time adds up. if we’re really being sticklers about it, I could watch the whole game and stop the clock every time the ref “intends to blow” the way it should be.
Honestly though, if I’m a Blue Jackets fan I’m pretty upset over this. In a season worth of downers, this just adds more to the trash heap. If the Blue Jackets were in the playoff race, I’d be even more upset. But I’m not a Blue Jackets fan, I’m a Kings fan. And I count my lucky stars that I’m on this side of the celebration.
As they say, you’ve got to be lucky to be good.
About the Author
Written by Eric Cooney
Eric Cooney was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina, and lives in Los Angeles, CA. He shares his thoughts on the NHL as one man who is a northerner, southerner, east coaster, and west coaster. Follow him on Twitter @EricCooney