You likely heard the Kings' home opener didn't go very well unless you happen to be a member of the Phoenix Coyotes, who scored a 6 to 3 win. The game is well-chronicled elsewhere, so I'm going to speak to the issue of atmosphere at Staples Center.
QUESTION: What was the atmosphere like at the Kings' home opener?
ANSWER: In an attempt to get fans excited about attending a hockey game -- because, you know, professional hockey isn't very exciting -- the Kings used strobe lights at every opportunity, gave away tickets to a KISS concert and had a video of an Ice Crew member describe her "pre-game routine," (which, by the way, included nothing interesting such as "waxing the players sticks, etc.").
Best of all, they dragged out the pre-game introductions by having each Kings player walk individually out of what appeared to be a castle stolen from a children's playground. The castle was bathed in red light. It was fun when the first player, Jack Johnson, emerged. Then it just got schlocky and boring and sapped the energy from the building.
QUESTION: Don't strobe lights make everything instantly more exciting?
ANSWER: Yes, if you are a fucking douchebag nutsack who needs to be told when to get excited. For the rest of us, they either give us a migraine or epileptic fit. And, the constant use of strobe lights throughout the game make us wonder if the Kings employ a bunch of nine-year-olds to run Staples Center.
QUESTION: Surely the crowd roared with excitement at the hockey game?
ANSWER: Actually, the loudest the crowd got was during a timeout when a few spastic Kings employees and members of the Ice Crew shot T-shirts out of an air cannon. Some of the T-shirts had KISS tickets in them and, you know, there's always the chance Gene Simmons & Co. will play "Beth."
QUESTION: But it was a sellout crowd, right?
ANSWER: So says the Kings. About one-third of the premier level seats -- the best in the house -- were empty. Why the Kings sell these to corporations or people who don't use them beats the shit out of me. Usually the premieres are at least half-empty, contributing to the disctinct lack of crowd noise at Kings games (it also doesn't help that the third level of seats sit atop three layers of luxury boxes, the reason the third level folks have to look down to see heaven). I enjoyed sitting in my $125 premiere seat for last night's game that I bought on StubHub for $35.
QUESTION: What do you need to make a hockey game exciting?
ANSWER: A competitive team, an organ, a p.a. announcer with a personality and a fun mascot. Funny thing is, the Kings actually have all four of those things (yes, they have a team that will win some games) -- but they instead insist on the amazingly annoying strobe lights and heavy metal cranked up so loud you can't even talk to the dude or dudess sitting next to you during the timeouts. For the record, I have nothing against heavy metal. But there's a time and a place.
QUESTION: If I were the King, what would I do?
ANSWER: Use the video board only for replays of the hockey game, lose the strobe lights, unleash the organ player (play some Bruce!) and make hockey the emphasis of attending a hockey game.