You don’t often see the word ‘coulombs’ in the newspaper, let alone in the sports section. So when it does, people sit up and take notice.
In a National Hockey League game between the hosts the LA Kings and the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets with the score tied at 2-2, replays showed that the clock stopped for about a second with 1.8 seconds left, giving enough time for the home team to score the winning goal with 0.4 seconds left on the clock.
Needless to say, suspicions of skullduggery are afoot and the NHL is investigating.
However, the general manager of the home team says that the explanation is a perfectly benign scientific one.
“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 ensures that the actual playing time during a period is exactly 20 minutes. That is not an opinion. That is science. Amazing device, quite frankly.”
Yes, I can well imagine that the clock gets really tired counting all those coulombs as they go whizzing by. Who can blame it if it pauses for a second towards the end of a game to catch its breath?