Great Game Previews In History: 12 November 2013

by J.R.

Today In History

On November 2, 1970, the Oregon Highway Division found itself with a 45-foot, eight-ton problem.

A sperm whale beached itself at Florence on the central Oregon coast. The Highway Division fellows, being Highway Division fellows, decided to remove this whale the same way they removed boulders: with a half-ton of dynamite.

And that’s not an exaggeration. They used literally a half-ton. Twenty cases of dynamite. The hope was that the smithereens would be smithered so reen that birds would take care of the rest.

And thus, a video was born:

Predators at Islanders, 6 PM

Records: Predators (8-7-2, 18 points, 5th in Conference III); Islanders (6-9-3, 15 points, 6th in Stupid, Ugly, Dumb Metro)

Last Time They Met: Nashville and the Isles finish up their season series. The Preds beat the Isles 3-2 on October 12 in Nashville.

Last 10: Nashville 5-4-1; New York 3-6-1

Historical Context: Though perhaps the Oregon Highway guys got a little overwrought with their first battle with the beached whale, they learned some important lessons, which helped out when, in 1979, 41 whales beached nearby. By then, they were the responsibility of the state parks department (when the initial whale beached in 1970, beaches were considered public highways and thus with the road crews). Parks decided to burn and bury the carcasses, a wildly-successful strategy. In related news, the Preds are 8-0-2 in their last 10 against the Isles.

Avalanche at Hurricanes, 5 PM Mountain/6 PM Central

Records: Avalanche (14-2-0, 28 points, 1st in Conference III); Hurricanes (6-7-4, 16 points, 4th in Stupid, Ugly, Dumb Metro)

Last Time They Met: Matt Duchene had two and one in a 4-2 Avs win October 25 in Denver.

Last 10: Colorado 8-2-0; Carolina 4-5-1

Historical Context: Sometimes you can’t win for losing, despite all your best intentions. Enter Walter Umenhofer, a military veteran and trained explosives dude, who just happened to be onthis self-same beach scouting sites for a manufacturing facility. He overheard one of those highway department guys talking about 20 cases of dynamite and tried to warn them: twenty cases is too much. Twenty sticks is much better. They blew him off. And then his Oldsmobile was damaged by flying blubber. Meanwhile, Carolina has Cam Ward and Jeff Skinner on injured reserve.

Jets at Red Wings, 6:30 PM

Records: Jets (8-9-2, 18 points, 7th in Conference III); Red Wings (9-5-4, 22 points, 4th in Flortheast)

Last Time They Met: This here.

Last 10: Winnipeg 4-4-2; Detroit 3-3-4

Historical Context: Eventually, the footage made KATU-TV’s Paul Linnman famous. It was the high point of his career (even though he wrote two books — one about the exploding whale and another about Oregon golf). Will the win over the Wings be Winnipeg’s high point?

Coyotes at Blues, 7 PM

Records: Coyotes (12-4-2, 26 points, 2nd in Pacific); Blues (11-2-2, 24 points, 3rd in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: Blues over Yotes 2-1 in a shootout April 18 in the Bluest, Yotiest game ever.

Last 10: Phoenix 8-2-0; St. Louis 7-1-2

Historical Context: There’s lots of great stories of the exploding whale story, but the best is that the Highway Department supervisor insisted to the end of his life that he made the right decision using all that dynamite. By the way, the Coyotes are still in Glendale.

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