Thursday, 26 July 2012

A Kings Footnote

If you happen to remember February 1, 2012 in hockey history, you'll probably happen upon the game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Los Angeles Kings. In this game, the Kings scored with 1.8 seconds remaining, it appeared, only to have replays show that the clock has actually stopped during the mad scramble in the dying seconds. HBIC wrote a piece on this clock stoppage, and now the NHL has concluded their investigation into what happened on that night. And it appears that Dean Lombardi's scientific explanation turned out to be a lot of squat - exactly what a vast number of people have said it was.

We go to London, England where Peter Hurzeler, a veteran official in charge of timing at the Olympics, had this gem of a statement to the National Post's Sean Fitz-Gerald: "It's manual — the clock doesn't know when it has to stop."

Hurzeler, a mechanical engineer, is an OMEGA timing board member, and is part of the London technical squad for his 16th Olympic Games. OMEGA is the company in charge of timing at the Games, and Hurzeler has been a part of the OMEGA team since 1969. So I'm pretty sure he knows what he's talking about when it comes to clock "malfunctions".

His comment above falls directly under the adage of "the simplest explanation is normally the right one". If clocks are controlled by people at sporting events, then the error is human, not mechanical. Elementary, my dear Watson.

Now some NHL conspiracy theorists will say that the NHL was behind this time delay. After all, the crew working the clock that night were NHL employees, not Los Angeles Kings employees. There have been theories concocted that the NHL helped needed the Kings to win to bring some relevance back to southern US teams, but I'm 100% against this idea. The Kings were simply the most dominant team in the playoffs since Gretzky and the Oilers in the mid-1980s.

While the NHL will admit the mistake, there's no guarantee that the time crew involved in this mistake will be punished at all. We're all human, and we all make mistakes. Chalk this one up as an "oops", and we'll move on. Did it stink at the time? Heck yes. But, as the saying goes, time heals all wounds, and this is one that doesn't need any more dwelling upon at all.

Unless someone has a time-traveling De Lorean, a crazy scientist friend with a dog named "Einstein", and a bunch of Libyans chasing the scientist, I'm comfortable letting this one go as a footnote on the magical season completed by the Los Angeles Kings.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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