Great Game Previews In History: 19 December 2013

by J.R.

Help III Communication celebrate Festivus by airing some grievances and what have you.

Today In History

508px-Publius_Septimius_Geta_Louvre_Ma1076“Hey, Publius Septimius Geta, it’s your mom, Julia Domna.”

“Hi, mom. What’s up?”

“I know things have been rough between you and your brother, Caracalla, since your dad, Septimius Severus, died and you guys were named dual emperors of the Roman Empire.”

“Well, sure, mom. We wanted to split the empire in two and rule separately, but we couldn’t work it out. Of course, when he tried to have me murdered at Saturnalia, that really put a damper on our brotherly affection.”

“Happy holidays, right? Anyway, Caracalla wants you to come over — without your bodyguards — and see if you guys can’t talk it out.”

“Sounds great, Mom!”

And that’s how Geta, the 22-year-old Roman Emperor ended up being murdered by the Praetorian Guard on orders from his brother, December 19, 211.

Wild at Penguins, 6 PM

Records: Wild (20-11-5, 45 points, 4th in Conference III); Penguins (25-10-1, 51 points, 1st in SUDM)

Last Time They Met: The Pens beat the Wild 4-2 way back on October 18, 2011.

Last 10: Minnesota 5-4-1; Pittsburgh 9-1-0

Historical Context: In a way, Geta’s idea to split the empire was well ahead of its time. Various schemes to divide the Empire were tried, though there was no actual distinction between West and East until Constantine relocated the seat of the empire to the site of Byzantium, which he renamed Constantinople (now Istanbul). As the Roman Empire pushed East, the powers-that-be started to recognize that their new acquisitions were far more sophisticated than the Western Empire, thus necessitating Constantine’s shift of the seat of power. The reverse is true in the NHL. The East — while long the seat of power — is conceding that the true sophistication lies West. Look at this match-up, for example. The Pens, far and away the best team in their division, are just six points clear of Minnesota, which is clinging to a playoff spot in the west.

Predators at Lightning, 6:30 PM

Records: Predators (16-15-3, 35 points, 6th in Conference III); Lightning (20-11-3, 43 points, 3rd in Flortheast)

Last Time They Met: Another game that hasn’t been played in ages: the Preds beat the Lightning 5-3 in Nashville October 27, 2011.

Last 10: Nashville 4-5-1; Tampa Bay 5-3-2

Historical Context: Geta was a beloved, happy-go-lucky youngster. From the Historia Augusta:

It was a common practice of his to propound puzzles to the grammarians, asking them to characterize the cries of the different animals, as for example:the lamb bleats, the pig squeals, the dove coos, the hog grunts, the bear growls, the lion roars, the leopard snarls, the elephant trumpets, the frog croaks, the horse neighs, the ass brays, the bull bellows; and in proof he would cite the ancient writers. His favourite books were the works of Serenus Sammonicus, addressed to him by Antoninus. He was accustomed, moreover, to have skilful slaves serve meals, and especially dinners, according to a single letter of the alphabet, as, for instance, one in which there were goose, gammon, and gadwall, or, again, pullet, partridge, peacock, pork, poisson, pig’s-thigh, and other kinds of food beginning with this letter, or pheasant, farina, figs and so forth. For this reason he was considered a good comrade, even in his youth.

That made his eventual downfall all-the-rougher on Rome. When David Poile traded Anders Lindback, the young Swede left Nashville happy-go-lucky and with a reputation for delighting in beauty, goodness and candy. Now he backs up Ben Bishop and is unprotected by the Praetorian Guard of the Nashville defense.

Canadiens at Blues, 7 PM

Records: Canadiens (21-12-3, 45 points, 2nd in Flortheast); Blues (22-7-4, 48 points, 2nd in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: T.J. Oshie got the shootout winner in a 3-2 Blues win November 5.

Last 10: Montreal 7-3-0; St. Louis 5-4-1

Historical Context: There were high expectations for Geta — as there always are for the Habs and as there are especially for this year’s edition of the Blues — but he was cut down in his prime, thus letting the legend grow of a promising prince gone-too-soon.

Canucks at Stars, 7:30 PM

Records: Canucks (20-10-6, 46 points, 4th in Pacific); Stars (16-12-5, 37 points, 5th in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: Erik Cole got the winner in a 2-1 Stars shootout win Nov. 17.

Last 10: Vancouver 8-1-1; Dallas 4-3-3

Historical Context: Maybe Geta and Caracalla couldn’t work out how to share, but, oh my, have Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn.

Oilers at Colorado, 7:30 PM Mountain/8:30 PM Central

Records: Oilers (11-22-3, 25 points, 7th in Pacific); Avalanche (22-10-1, 43 points, 3rd in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: Edmonton put up a snowman at home for an 8-2 win over the Avs December 5.

Last 10: Edmonton 3-6-1; Colorado 5-4-1

Historical Context: Was the eight-spot a portent for Colorado’s eventual downfall, like the failed Saturnalia stabbing was for Geta? The Avs are 3-3-1 since then; judge for yourselves.