When we fell down 3-0 in the first period, a thought occurred to me. Thankfully, the irony of losing 6-1 on the afternoon of our banner raising game didn’t come true.
Thankfully, we scored two goals and made an atrocious 60 minutes only awful.
Shinny hockey? No. Shitty hockey.
We’ll get to the game in a moment. Let’s talk about the pre-game.
The Stanley Cup being walked down the red carpet was cool. I had a front row seat. I was tempted to scream at the Vancouver Canucks fan who stood about 10 people north of me if she realized this was as close as she would get to the Cup but she seemed like a nice girl, her boyfriend was nearly as ugly as she was and I was in a good mood.
The crowd was also in a good mood. Inside the arena, and before the game, our fans buzzed. Of course, the 300 sections had to carry the lower level, like every other game, but you come to expect that, not just in our arena but most others.
The initial video was not new. We have seen it before on Kings Vision.
The second video was that band whose name I cannot recall…you know, “when I was…a small boy…” That one. It was basically the same video as last season but with some Cup winning photos thrown in.
Overall, L.A. Kings entertainment gets a C. They did nothing to up the ante. Not that I expected anything different. They actually exceeded expectations last season. Black Parade. That is the song. I still don’t remember the band name though. Or is that the band name?
Handing out the rings…meh. It ran long.
The Cup coming down between section 110 and 111 was unexpected. David Courtney’s voice, “ladies and gentlemen, the Stanley Cup” with that ever subtle emotional inflection sent chills through me.
The players standing in a circle around the ice and handing the Cup around was a little odd. I wondered how it looked on TV and when I came home and saw it on TV, it looked the same as the arena. Odd.
Then the banner. Oh the banner. The highlight of my day. The banner went up right in front of me and hung at eye level the entire game. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. The fact a family from Sandy Hook Elementary walked the banner onto the ice did make it more special, as did the presence of Marcel Dionne and Rogie Vachon at each end of it.
Back to David Courtney, Surly and I shared one thing in common – a disappointment that the only thing David Courtney got was a moment of silence. Does he mean more to die-hard fans like Jacob and I than to the suits? I don’t know. I hope not. Perhaps it was just too difficult to fit in a few more minutes of video and a greater honor to his legacy. Perhaps they should have done it anyway. David earned that and more. From the first words Dave Joseph (Courtney’s successor) spoke to the last, everything seemed off including my equilibrium. I don’t know much about Dave Joseph but I do know that L.A. Kings games may never be the same for me. Am I being dramatic? I am being honest. I hope my perspective changes but it was like nails on a chalkboard at moments throughout.
On second thought, I won’t break down the game. The fourth goal where Dustin Brown and Mike Richards stood near center ice, didn’t take three strides toward a back check and could have prevented that goal if they had symbolized the actual game – the boys just didn’t come to play.
In many respects, I am glad we lost the home opener in this way. Immortality was starting to weigh on me. We’re fallible again. I am focused. Let’s win some fucking hockey games.