insisted on keeping their chances of making the
playoffs in the next decade on screen at all times.
Thursday night’s game in Los Angeles between the two teams was decided on a late Drew Doughty goal that appeared to cross the goal line with a fraction of a second left on the clock. But replays showed something mysterious: the game clock appeared to pause for over one full second right before the goal. That slight delay was enough to turn a goal that shouldn’t have counted into the game winner.
Predictably, conspiracy theories were floated immediately. The league has promised a thorough investigation, while making clear that the game’s results will stand. The incident could end up deciding the Western Conference playoff races, and everyone is outraged.
Should they be? No. Because even if the glitch was intentional, it wouldn’t be unique. After all, the Kings wouldn’t be the first hockey team to get a little boost from their home arena. In fact, it’s common practice.
Here are just a few of the ways that teams around the league are using their rinks to gain an unfair advantage.
New York Islanders - Attempt to unnerve opposing players by ensuring that the visiting team's dressing room is infested with vicious disease-carrying rats that are slightly larger than the ones in the home team’s room.
Toronto Maple Leafs – Thanks to the typical mid-week crowds at the ACC, are often able to get out to a quick start against confused opponents who can take up to two full periods to realize that the pre-game moment of silence has ended.
Tampa Bay Lightning – Blatantly attempt to damage the retinas of opposing players by placing a bright red light directly behind their goaltender and then turning it on three or four times every period.
Vancouver Canucks – An intricate installation of mirrors and holographic lasers has actually succeeded in convincing foolish opponents that the Canucks’ best player has a linemate who looks exactly like him.
Minnesota Wild – While visiting teams have made it clear that they realize that every arena has its imperfections and they don’t want to seem like they’re whining, they can’t help but think it would be more fair if their dressing room was indoors.
Montreal Canadiens – Have been known to attempt to confuse opponents by having their fans loudly engage in chants from the wrong sport.
Detroit Red Wings – Players visiting Joe Louis Arena often report feeling confused and disoriented by the experience of playing in an arena that doesn’t have some faceless corporation’s name slapped all over it.
Winnipeg Jets - After years of playing fair in Atlanta, have achieved an unfair advantage this season by filling their building with fans who actually care about hockey.
Ottawa Senators – After an afternoon of leisurely pre-game preparation, it’s always fun for the Senator players to see their opponents sprinting off their team bus three minutes before puck drop while breathlessly screaming “Seriously, that’s the closest spot to downtown you could find to build your arena?”
Pittsburgh Penguins – Oh sure, you try to concentrate knowing Jean Claude Van Damme might be battling terrorists on the catwalk overhead.
New Jersey Devils – While they concede that it doesn’t actually create a competitive advantage, visiting teams report that it’s still kind of weird how all the benches and penalty boxes in the arena suddenly have little tip jars.
Boston Bruins - Opponents report that due to an apparent architectural error, the path to the Bruins net is constantly blocked by some sort of huge granite pillar wearing a #33 jersey.
Edmonton Oilers – Have recently instructed the official scorekeeper to start randomly assigning a point to Sam Gagner on every single goal scored just to see if anyone notices.