Hockey... in LA?

The presence of the ice crew did nothing to improve this fan's gamdeday experience - Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The short answer is no.

I recently caught our Sabres live at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. And I have been to hockey games. I have seen hockey games before. And you, sir, were no hockey game.

The whole area around Staples has developed into a giant sports and entertainment complex known as LA Live. There are restaurants, theaters, and the people who stand in front of signs making hand gestures to encourage you to perform the action indicated on the sign.

I work 7 miles from Staples, so naturally it took a full hour for me to drive there. I parked 2 blocks away to save on parking, and it is amazing how quickly that neighborhood goes bad. The main complex itself is clean and full of people out for a good time. One block to the east is a post-apocalyptic war zone, with homeless people dodging trains and tripping over the broken sidewalks. Two blocks to the east is where the homeless go when the normal homeless kick them out of their homeless homes. Here they assemble into tight packs and survive by exploiting the new and unaffiliated.

Truth be told, I had to go a third block east to grab cash from an ATM. I won't bore you with the mundane details of my escape. If you've seen Escape From LA with Kurt Russell, you already know most of it anyways.

After this ordeal I arrived at LA Live hungry and in desperate need of alcohol. I joined my wife at Wolfgang Puck's and ordered some kind of magical pizza that you can eat without acquiring nourishment. The alcohol was just fine though.

Because I am such a wealthy and successful person you see, I was able to acquire Premier Seat tickets (I am none of those things and the tickets were heavily discounted)! These tickets entitle the owner to an exclusive private entry (which is darker, smaller, and takes longer to get through than the normal entrance). You also get exclusive access to the famous San Manuel Club which I had never heard of.

We were upset to discover that the most famous thing about the San Manuel Club was its buffet. This thing was Vegas-sized in terms of both quantity and quality. And -- worst of all -- it was completely free to premier seat holders!. I felt like such an idiot after dropping almost $100 on dinner when we could have eaten for free. So we proceeded to attempt to consume $100 in buffet items in 10 minutes. My wife even took plastic cups and filled them with skittles and put them in her purse and coat pockets. We still have more skittles than we know what to do with. I read the next day that the buffet actually costs $44 / person. Whoops.

The stadium itself is an odd place. There is a good sized bowl of 100 level seating, and plenty of 200 level seats as well. Then there are an unusually large number of suites, and the smallest 300 level I have ever seen anywhere.

There were maybe 5,000 fans in their seats at puck drop. This is fairly typical behavior for LA sports fans. Many people show up to Dodgers games around the 5th inning, then leave after the 7th inning stretch. The arena would fill up to about 90% by the middle of the 2nd period.

The quality of play from the Sabres was beneath disgusting. I was honestly embarassed that my team would show up and play like this in front of fans who came to see hockey. Fortunately, that does not describe LA fans. The people around us spent most of the game talking about their favorite movies, politics, or work.

The Sabres look like they're playing no system at all. They make lots of blind, panicky passes and are very poor at positioning themselves away from the puck. Player observations:

Evander Kane: A physical mismatch against every player. Stronger, faster, and more aggressive than anyone on the ice. Very impressive.

Jack Eichel: An obvious phenom. Has a stronger first stride than anyone on the ice. Plays with an alpha personality -- fearless, confident, and creative. Visibly frustrated after nearly every shift, and with good reason.

Brian Gionta: Not really playing. Tends to skate around plays and wait for action to come his way. I know he can still score goals and I respect his career accomplishments. But he has too little impact on the flow of play to justify having a spot on the squad. Does not play like a team captain.

Tyler Ennis: When did this guy forget how to play? He cannot hold on to the puck, cannot steal the puck, cannot use his speed to get around guys. But he still seems to think he can do all three.

Zach Bogosian: Worst player on the ice for either team by far. Careless, unmotivated, and stupid. We'd be better off cutting the bench one player short than allowing him to play.

Marcus Foligno: Played with great heart. High motor, decent speed, very physical and disruptive style of play.

Hudson Fasching: See above. Add a crushing hit on Drew Doughty.

Nobody else really made an impression, other than Risto, who seems to be tasked with playing 100% of all team defense at all times. I wanted Sam Reinhart to make an impression. He did not.

My wife is not a hockey fan, but she loved going to the Sabres games at FNC. Hell, she loved hanging out in Buffalo bars and talking Sabres with both patrons and staff. After 2 periods of utter garbage at Staples, she turned and said to me, "What is this? We've been here 2 whole periods, and there have been zero fights and zero goals. And these fans suck. Why is this so different from what hockey was like in Buffalo? What's wrong?"

I thought for a minute and couldn't answer. We left early to beat the traffic.

This is a FanPost written by a member of the community. It does not necessarily express the views or opinions of Die By The Blade.