“Once the game is over, it’s over.”

February 2nd, 2012

In a game between the Columbus Blue Jacket and the LA Kings, a a game-winning goal crossed the line right before the clock hit zero. The only problem is that the clock stalled before it hit zero.

During Wednesday night’s game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, the clock briefly stopped in the closing seconds — giving Drew Doughty enough time to score the winning goal as theKings beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2.

The puck officially crossed the line with less than a second to play in regulation. However, when the Blue Jackets looked at video after the game, they discovered the clock froze for roughly a second just prior to Doughty’s goal — meaning time should have expired before the puck crossed the line.

The NHL’s video room looked at the play immediately after the goal was scored, but didn’t notice that the clock had stopped running while the Kings were buzzing around the net.

We didn’t even look to go back and say, ‘OK, did something happen (with the clock)?’ ” Colin Campbell, the NHL’s senior executive vice president of hockey operations, said Thursday.

“When it crosses the line (and) you review it, you back the puck out and you see what the clock was. And the clock was 0.4 (seconds).

“And then after the game, minutes after the game, we see (it and say), ‘Holy cow.’ ”

Campbell confirmed that the goal shouldn’t have counted, and said the league would conduct an investigation to determine what caused the error.

Campbell told ESPN.com that regardless of the league’s findings, the result of the game won’t be changed.

So even though the goal was improper, and the result could have been changed to a tie, the flawed result stands.

“Once the game is over, it’s over,” Campbell said.

The game was played in Los Angeles. Any thoughts about a rigged clock?

When reached by ESPN.com, Kings general manager Dean Lombardi responded with a curious email:

“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 devise quite frankly.”

For more on judging and umpiring in sports, see here, here, here, and here.