Sunday, 29 December 2019

Torts Blows A Gasket

It had to happen sometime. I mean, we all knew it was going to happen at some point. The only question was when it would happen. Tonight, Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella likely earned himself a fine with his comments in the post-game press conference towards the officials and the league, but everything that he said happened did happen. With Tortorella making a point so eloquently as he did in the post-game press conference, the Columbus Blue Jackets seemingly got screwed again by the NHL after they made it clear that something clock-related would never happen again.

You might be asking to what am I referring , so let me take you back to Wednesday, February 1, 2012 for a game between the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets and the host Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. With the game tied at 2-2 and late in the third period, the clock at Staples Center stopped mid-play for one full second at the 1.8-second mark that night, allowing the Los Angeles Kings to find the time to score the game-winning goal. The Columbus Blue Jackets lost the game, and the explosion of outrage began. Honestly, the Blue Jackets got screwed that night.

In the aftermath, Colin Campbell sent an email to The Los Angeles Times' Helene Elliott that read as follows:
"We have initiated a number of steps to ensure there will be no clock issues in all arenas in the NHL," Campbell said in an email.

"We are observing all 'last minutes' of each period to make sure there are no 'blips' or 'pauses' in the last minute in the video booths upstairs. In our new video room in Toronto we now receive live feeds of the overheads so we are not 'slaved' to TV waiting to see if they show the overheads.

"We will find a way to bleed the clock feed into the overheads now. We have implemented a few other items into the clock process as well to make sure there can be no burps."
It seems that, based on his email to Helene Elliott, Colin Campbell made it pretty clear that if there is any funny business surrounding the clock, Toronto would be all over it thanks to the new policies and rules of observation.

Well, it seems that someone was asleep in front of the TV tonight because the Chicago Blackhawks were whistled for a too-many-men penalty in overtime at the 19.2-second mark, but the clock was allowed to run down to 18.1 seconds. After protesting, both the on-ice officials and the Situation Room in Toronto saw no reason to change the clock, and play resumed. And then this happened.
If you were watching the clock, Zach Werenski scored on a flailing Robin Lehner, but the time had expired! Has there been an extra 1.1 seconds on the clock, we could be talking about a Columbus victory here. Instead, the game went to a shootout where not only did the Blackhawks prevail to take the two points, but Columbus goaltender Joonas Korpisalo was injured as well!

If you're expecting fireworks from John Tortorella, you're in luck. You can thank Sportsnet for censoring the not-so-friendly language.


As stated above, the NHL will likely hand down a fine for John Tortorella to pay, but it's pretty clear the problem lies with the Situation Room where Colin Campbell made it clear, back in 2012, that this sort of chronological blunder would be corrected by the people manning the chairs in that room. And it's not like this was brought to Tortorella's attention after the game had ended as he raised the issue on the ice along with his captain, and he was categorically denied a correction on the clock by both the on-ice officials and the Situation Room in Toronto. Moments later, it comes back to bite the NHL in the rear end and the league ends up with egg all over its proverbial face once again over another clock mishap.

In their history to this point, the Columbus Blue Jackets have lost three points and one goaltender to two seconds for which the NHL is ultimately responsible. These kinds of egregious errors should mean that someone in the NHL's Situation Room and/or at the NHL head office should lose his or her job. When points matter for every team when it comes to making the playoffs and earning millions of dollars in revenue, this should never happen to any team.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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