Great Game Previews In History: 25 November 2013

by J.R.

Today In History

In November 1864, in the vinegar strokes of the Civil War, an octet of Southerners, calling themselves (rather grandiosely) the Confederate Army of Manhattan, sneaked into New York City via Canada.

And once there, these eight tried to set 21 simultaneous fires in an effort to overwhelm the firefighting capabilities of the New York Fire Department and…well, it doesn’t appear there was much of a plan beyond that.

As Clint Johnson put it:

None of the Confederates had ever visited New York before they arrived to burn it down. They did no scouting to find the most flammable targets. Just days before the attack, one of the Confederates was thrown out of his hotel for loudly proclaiming in his Alabama-born accent the merits of secession. None of the young men had any experience with incendiaries, yet they trusted a stranger to provide them 144 firebombs. When they took possession of the firebombs, they spent only a few minutes practicing with them – out in the open, in the daytime, in Central Park.

Few of the fires caught and those that did were contained quickly and, initially at least, all eight members of the Confederate Army of Manhattan escaped back to politically-neutral Canada.

Wild at Blues, 7 PM

Records: Wild (15-5-4, 34 points, 4th in Conference III); Blues (16-3-3, 35 points, 2nd in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: St. Louis got a 2-0 shutout from Brian Elliott on April 11, two days after the worst game in Conference III history.

Last 10: Minnesota 8-1-1; St. Louis 8-1-1

Historical Context: The night’s marquee match-up — it’s on NBCSN — features the league’s two hottest teams in November, both having won nine games this month. Will these fires stay burning, or will they fizzle out?

Jets at Devils, 6 PM

Records: Jets (10-11-4, 24 points, 7th in Conference III); Devils (9-9-5, 23 points, 4th in SUDM)

Last Time They Met: Al Montoya stopped ’em and Evander Kane scored twice in a 3-0 Oct. 13 game at the MTS Centre.

Last 10: Winnipeg 5-3-2; New Jersey 6-3-1

Historical Context: Fun Fact! Winnipeg – the team that was actually in the East — has played the fewest number of games against the East thus far. Tonight’s will be just the seventh (by contrast, Anaheim has played 17). Anyway, this whole 1) Burn down Manhattan 2)??? 3) Win Civil War plan was engineered by Jacob Thompson, who was James Buchanan’s Secretary of the Interior before switching sides early in the war. 

Coyotes at Predators, 7 PM

Records: Coyotes (14-5-4, 32 points, 4th in Pacific); Predators (11-10-2, 24 points, 6th in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: Phoenix stormed back from two goals down to take a 5-4 win in a shootout on Halloween in the Jobing Dot Com Enormodome

Last 10: Phoenix 6-2-2; Nashville 5-5-0

Historical Context: Only one of these dummies was ever prosecuted. Guy named Robert Cobb Kennedy. He was trying to sneak back into the United States and was arrested. He claimed that it was all just a big laugh — a few drunks out for mischief. Nobody bought it. He was tried, convicted and hanged. He should have just stayed in Canada. Speaking of which: Phoenix Coyotes.

Blackhawks at Oilers, 8:30 PM

Records: Blackhawks (16-4-4, 36 points, 1st in Conference III); Oilers (7-15-2, 16 points, 7th in Pacific)

Last Time They Met: The Hawks scored three times in the third to eke out a 5-4 win at the United Center Nov. 10.

Last 10: Chicago 7-2-1; Edmonton 4-6-0

Historical Context: Beyond the hotels and the lone theater, one target was, for some reason, P.T. Barnum’s American Museum. “There’s a sucker born every minute,” Barnum is said to have said. “Maybe we don’t need any defensemen,” said the Edmonton Oilers.