Great Game Previews In History: 6 November 2013

by J.R.

Today In History

800px-Battle_of_LutzenIn 1632, the forces of Sweden and the Protestant Union of German states won a victory over the Catholic League in the Battle of Lützen during the Thirty Years’ War, but the battle cost the Protestants the leadership of King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden who was killed during a disjointed cavalry charge.

Two days before the battle, the Catholic general Albrecht von Wallenstein of Bohemia split his forces, predicting that the early winter would delay any further Protestant advances. But Gustavus Adolphus had other plans, sending his army towards Wallenstein’s last known position. The armies briefly encountered each other on November 5 and Wallenstein recalled the other half of his army, led by Gottfried Heinrich Graf zu Pappenheim.

The Protestants took an early lead on the morning of November 6, killing Pappenheim just as he and his army arrived, but later, during the same cavalry charge, Gustavus Adolphus was felled. He was rumored to have “disappeared” when only his horse was discovered initially, but later his body was found nearby and then spirited away under cover of a wagon to keep his death a secret. Only later did his second-in-command, Bernard of Saxe-Weimar, disclose the king’s death.

Despite this, the Protestants were able to drive the Catholics from Saxony, keeping the Saxons in firm alliance with the Swedes and their confreres. Nevertheless, the coming winter and the death of Gustavus Adolphus harmed the Protestant campaign. Without a unifying leader, they fell into disarray. The power vacuum was filled by France — a Catholic power who simply was a rival of the Habsburgs — and the war became less and less about religion. Eventually, it was concluded with the Peace of Westphalia and the rise of a more modern concept of a nation-state.

A fun fact about the battle: by this time, the Catholic states of Europe had switched to the Gregorian calendar, while the Protestants were still using the Julian. So the battle actually occurred on what we would call November 16, but, because the Protestants won (and history is written by the winners) it is still recorded as having occurred on November 6.

jets at Blackhawks, 7 PM

Records: Jets (6-8-2, 14 points, 7th in Conference III); Blackhawks (9-2-4, 22 points, 2nd in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: Just five days ago, the Hawks scored five unanswered and won 5-1 at the MTS Centre.

Last 10: Winnipeg 3-5-2; Chicago 6-1-3

Historical Context: The early stages of the Thirty Years War — which more or less ended at Lützen — had a classic brother-against-brother vibe, with the Princely States of Germany splitting sort of geographically, but along religious lines, leading to cousin-on-cousin violence and people fighting battles in what was once their own families’ country. These Winnipeg-Chicago games carry that vibe. Plenty of player swapping leads to familiar faces returning home and plenty of exiled Manitobans skate for the Blackhawks. Also check out today’s Arbitrary Rivalry Wednesday on the battle of Lake Winnipeg and Lake Michigan.

Predators at Avalanche, 7:30 PM Mountain/8:30 PM Central

Records: Predators (7-5-2, 16 points, 5th in Conference III); Avalanche (12-1-0, 24 points, 1st in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: PA Parenteau potted a pair in an October 4 Avs win in Denver.

Last 10: Nashville 6-2-2; Colorado 9-1-0

Historical Context: It’s unclear if the Seth Jones-Nathan MacKinnon rivalry will rise to the level of Protestants vs. Catholics, but as good as these two have been in the early going, let’s hope it’s a 30 years war. Also, Arbitrary Rivalry Wednesday looks at Tennessee and Colorado’s statehouses.