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Category: Hockey

Case of the controversial clock: the plot thickens

Another video clip has surfaced in the Twitterverse that seems to show the clock at Staples Center paused twice during the final seconds of a Kings game, a precursor to an incident that occurred late in the Kings’ 3-2 victory over Columbus on Wednesday and triggered an investigation by the NHL.

The clip above of a game played Jan. 21 appears to show the clock pausing twice in the last four seconds. It didn’t draw any attention at the time because nothing significant happened in those final seconds that required review, and the Kings lost to Colorado, 3-1.

Despite a pause of about a second on Wednesday, Drew Doughty’s goal Wednesday with 0.4 of a second showing on the clock was allowed to stand and gave the Kings a victory that could prove crucial in their playoff drive or in playoff seedings.

A league spokesman said Friday he had not been aware of the apparent Jan. 21 clock pauses and that he would forward the information to executives who are looking into what happened on Wednesday.

Colin Campbell, the NHL’s senior vice president of hockey operations, told The Times on Thursday that the league will look into mechanical and human error as possible causes of the problem in the Kings-Blue Jackets game.

-- Helene Elliott

Kings' Dustin Penner flips pancake flap for good cause

FabforumWith only four goals this season, Kings left wing Dustin Penner won’t win the NHL scoring title. But he has won over many fans with his humorous take on the day he sat down to a pancake breakfast and suffered back spasms that kept him out of a game.

Penner has joked about the incident and now has partnered with the Kings and IHOP for a pancake breakfast that will benefit the team’s charitable foundation.

Seventy-five fans will have a chance to eat a buffet breakfast with Penner on Feb. 13 at the Westchester IHOP, at 8600 South Sepulveda Blvd. Fans can buy different prize packs that give them a chance to be chosen to share breakfast of pancakes, bacon, eggs and orange juice or coffee.

A $10 package includes a signed Penner player card and one chance to win tickets to the pancake breakfast. A $25 package includes a signed card, a sheet with two pairs of Kings eye black and three chances to win tickets. A $50 package includes a signed part, two pairs of eye black, a key chain and seven chances to win tickets.

Proceeds will go to the Kings Care Foundation. Full details are available at

--Helene Elliott

Photo: Dustin Penner. Credit: Harry How / Getty Images.


NHL: Drew Doughty's goal should not have counted


The NHL is investigating whether human error or a glitch in the clock system at Staples Center was responsible for prolonging the Kings’ game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday long enough for Kings defenseman Drew Doughty to score the decisive goal in a 3-2 victory.

Colin Campbell, the league’s senior vice president of hockey operations, said Thursday he believes the Blue Jackets were wronged because the clock was paused with 1.8 seconds left in the third period and Doughty’s goal with .4 of a second left should not have been allowed. “In our opinion it was one full second,” Campbell said of the stoppage.

The decision won’t make much difference to 30th-ranked Columbus but could prove crucial for the Kings, who are battling for a playoff spot.

In determining playoff seedings when teams are tied, wins gained in a shootout are subtracted from each team’s win total and the greater win total gets the better seeding. Had Doughty’s goal been disallowed the game might have gone to the tiebreaker, potentially reducing the Kings’ wins in regulation and overtime.

The pause was not immediately seen by officials in the NHL’s Toronto situation room, where every goal is reviewed. Campbell said the initial concern in Toronto was to determine if the puck had crossed the goal line before time expired according to the clock burned into the corner of the footage they saw. Not until later did they back up the frame-by-frame footage to the moment the clock stopped. Seeing that hesitation with 1.8 seconds left persuaded him Columbus had gotten a bad deal.

“When you look at it, regulation was over when L.A. scored so yes they did,” Campbell said in a phone conversation. “They didn’t have the opportunity to get a point for a tie game. They didn’t get a point from the tie game, which they would have got and they weren’t afforded the opportunity to go for an extra point in overtime or a shootout.”

 Campbell said the league had  contacted the clock’s manufacturer, Daktronics, to determine if the clock was at fault and will send technicians to Staples Center to examine the clock and the system. Campbell also said the NHL will send a representative to Los Angeles to meet with the off-ice officials, who are employed by the league. That crew includes the person designated the game timekeeper Wednesday—whom Campbell would not identify—as well as the official scorer, penalty timekeeper and others.

Although Campbell said he believed there had been other problems with the Staples Center clock involving basketball games, Staples Center spokesman Michael Roth said he was unaware of such difficulties.

Columbus General Manager Scott Howson posted a blog on the team’s web site criticizing the process that allowed the goal to stand and emphasizing how important the extra point for the win could be for the Kings, but that blog was later removed.

Campbell said investigating the incident is crucial to maintaining trust and credibility in Los Angeles and every other arena in which NHL games are played.

"We have to peruse two areas,” Campbell said. “There’s a human element, where a fellow’s operating the clock. And was there a human mistake here? So was there human error in this case? Is he watching the play? Did he think there was a high stick?  Did he think there was a hand pass and he accidentally stopped it and started it? Or was there an error in the Daktronics clock?

“We’ve talked to the Daks people. We’ve also asked them if it’s humanly possible to stop the clock and start it just one second.”

Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi said via email that the clock was correct and no extra time had been added.

“Those clocks are sophisticated instruments that calculate time by measuring electrical charges called coulombs,” he said. “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 device quite frankly."

Campbell discounted Lombardi’s comment. “I read it and it sounded interesting,” Campbell said.


Dean Lombardi gives his explanation of controversy

NHL investigating clock operation on last-second Kings goal

--Helene Elliott


Dean Lombardi's explanation on clock controversy


Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi said there is a scientific explanation for the apparent hesitation by the scoreboard clock at Staples Center on Wednesday night that preceded the last-second goal by Drew Doughty in the Kings' 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Times colleague Lisa Dillman asked Lombardi to respond to comments on the goal made by Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson. Here's Lombardi's email reply:

"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 device quite frankly."

-- Helene Elliott and Lisa Dillman

Photo: Dean Lombardi. Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein / Getty Images.

NHL investigating clock operation on last-second Kings goal


NHL spokesman Gary Meagher said Thursday morning the league is reviewing events surrounding the apparent clock stoppage at Staples Center on Wednesday night that led to a goal by Kings defenseman Drew Doughty being allowed with four-tenths of a second left in the third period.

Meagher said the review actually began at 2 a.m. Eastern time, shortly after the game was declared over with the Kings earning a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Colin Campbell, the NHL's senior executive vice president of hockey operations, told the Canadian Press news agency that league officials watched the replay later and noticed the discrepancy.

The goal was reviewed by NHL executives at the league’s situation room in Toronto and was allowed to stand. But  Columbus General Manager Scott Howson said his coaching staff saw on video replays soon afterward that the clock appeared to stop with 1.8 seconds left and then resumed. Doughty’s goal, he said, should not have counted because it occurred after the clock would have expired had it not stopped.

The clock is controlled by an off-ice official who is employed by the NHL, Meagher said. That’s the game timekeeper.

Meagher said the league is looking into many aspects surrounding the call, including why the apparent problem with the clock wasn’t noticed in the building or by NHL executives who were monitoring the game at the league’s situation room in Toronto.

-- Helene Elliott

Photo: Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, center, celebrates with right wing Justin Williams, left, and defenseman Jack Johnson after scoring the game-winning goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press.

Men behaving badly: Alexander Radulov vs. hockey coach


What in the name of Viktor Tikhonov is going on over in the KHL?

It used to be that Russian hockey coaches were not only respected but feared and dreaded.

Those days, apparently, seem long gone. The evidence: The video of Alexander Radulov's stick making contact with his coach on the bench. It is a short clip, which was circulating Wednesday, and concludes with Radulov raising his left hand in an apologetic gesture.

Oh, sorry. 

Radulov has been playing for Salavat Yulaev Ufa in the KHL. He scored 44 goals in 145 NHL games, all with Nashville, and the thought was that he could be returning to the Predators next season. 

Well, NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan can pick him up at the airport.


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-- Lisa Dillman

Kings update: Limited progress for Simon Gagne

There are very few answers -- and many questions -- when it comes to the murky case of Kings winger Simon Gagne, who suffered a concussion Dec. 26.

Kings President and General Manager Dean Lombardi answered a few questions with one of his own Tuesday.

Lombardi said any improvement has been of  "marginal progress."

"Is he close to playing?" Lombardi said. "No. He's been making progress very slowly and that's the way I expect it to continue."

In fact, Gagne is nowhere close to being able to resume skating, Lombardi said. That would be the first hurdle in a series of steps Gagne would need to take before resuming his NHL career, assuming he is able to ever do so.

Gagne's agent has not been available for comment.

Continue reading »

AT&T Wireless tops biggest national TV sports advertisers


The research firm Nielsen said Tuesday that AT&T Wireless was the biggest advertiser on national televised sports in the 12 months ended last Sept. 30, spending $423.5 million on national network and cable TV ads.

In its report "State of the Media: 2011 Year in Sports,"Nielsen said the wireless company's national TV ad spending was more than twice that spent by the second-place advertiser, Bud Light, the Anheuser-Busch beer that spent $210.2 million.

Wireless phone companies, in fact, accounted for three of the seven largest national TV sports advertisers. Verizon Wireless was third on Nielsen's list at $207.7 million and Sprint Wireless was seventh at $147.4 million.

The report did not break down ad spending by sport, but it did say overall national TV sports advertising climbed 5.8% in the year to $10.9 billion.

The increase was slightly above the 5% increase in the amount of live national TV sports content that was available on network and cable in the 12-month period, which totaled 42,500 hours, Nielsen said.

The other top advertisers: McDonald's, DirecTV, Geico, Southwest Airlines, State Farm Insurance and Miller Lite beer.

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: A television camera above the field in St. Louis before the NFL's St. Louis Rams played the Washington Redskins on Sept. 26, 2010. Credit: Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Bernie Nicholls helping Kings again ... as an unofficial coach

Bernie-nicholls_300The Kings’ lineup for Saturday’s game at Staples Center against the Colorado Avalanche will be the same as it has been recently, Coach Darryl Sutter said, which means defensemen Alec Martinez and Davis Drewiske and forward Kevin Westgarth will be scratched.

There was something else familiar about the Kings’ lineup on the ice for their morning skate Saturday at El Segundo: former Kings standout Bernie Nicholls, invited by Sutter several weeks ago to work with the team, was on the ice again to work with players. “Quite honestly, I enjoy having Bernie around,” Sutter said.

Nicholls, who accompanied the Kings on their trip to Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver last week, seems to have settled into an unofficial role as a power-play consultant and intermediary between the coach and the players. Sutter credited him with boosting the lagging power play over the eight games before Saturday’s encounter with Colorado — the Kings were six for 30 with the man advantage during that span — and said Nicholls is welcome to stay as long as he wants.

“You can’t have enough good experience or communication with these guys,” Sutter said. “I think that’s something we need. With a real young team you need more individual stuff. I believe that.”

Sutter said the power play had improved by about 2% and the team’s total of goals scored at home had increased slightly too. “Half a goal. You get another half a goal a game and maybe it’s just something that he’s talked to one kid about that can help,” Sutter said. “That’s all we’re trying to do.

“Originally he wasn’t going to come on that last trip. I said, ‘You know, you’ve got to see some of these guys on the road because they’re different home and away.’”

Sutter also said he would discuss Nicholls’ future duties next week, when the All-Star break and a scheduling quirk will give the Kings eight days between games.

“I’ll talk to him once the break starts,” Sutter said. “I get caught in the moment always so I’ve got to use the days properly to kind of reset where we’re at.”

Check back later for more coverage at


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-- Helene Elliott

Photo: Bernie Nicholls outside his home in Addison, Texas. Credit: Amy Gutierrez / For The Times

Kings GM Dean Lombardi says he's sorry for slamming Oilers

Either hell has frozen over or Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi was afraid for his safety during the team's upcoming trip to Edmonton, but he offered an apology Thursday for the incendiary comments he made after he acquired an injured Colin Fraser for Ryan Smyth in a trade with the Oilers.

Trying to grant Smyth's trade request, Lombardi initially agreed to take Gilbert Brule for Smyth but backed off because of concerns over Brule's fitness. He then agreed to take Fraser, who eventually needed foot surgery and didn't make his Kings debut until Nov. 10.

The Kings filed a grievance with the NHL contending that the Oilers had misrepresented the extent of Fraser's injury and Lombardi let his temper flare.

“The bottom line for me, I would have rather invested my money with Bernie Madoff than invest in Edmonton’s word,” Lombardi told The Times.

The grievance was settled before a hearing and the Oilers paid an unspecified amount of money toward Fraser’s medical costs. Oiler and NHL executives were unhappy with Lombardi’s outspokenness, and Lombardi told Edmonton Team 1260 radio host Mark Spector on Thursday that frustration over Smyth’s trade request led him to speak without thinking.

Continue reading »

Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick takes All-Star honor in stride

Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, named to the NHL All-Star team Thursday, had a typically low-key reaction to his first All-Star honor, the first for a Kings goalie since Mario Lessard in 1981.

"It's a great accomplishment. It's something I'm looking forward to do at the end of the month," he said, talking about the Jan. 29 game after the Kings skated in El Segundo in advance of Thursday's game against the Dallas Stars at Staples Center.

"But right now we've got a lot of things going on here. We've got a big game tonight against Dallas. That's ultimately what we're all focused on."

The only other Kings goalies to make an All-Star team were Terry Sawchuk in 1968, Rogie Vachon in 1973, 1975 and 1978, and Lessard. Quick enters Thursday's game with the fourth-best goals-against average (1.93), fifth-best save percentage (.934), a league-leading six shutouts and eighth-best number of wins (18).

Quick said he didn't know any of the other all-stars and that he found out he would be taking part in the game in Ottawa when Coach Darryl Sutter gave him the news on the ice at the end of the morning skate. He joked that his teammates didn’t treat him like an all-star.

Continue reading »

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