Great Game Previews In History: 31 December 2013

by J.R.

Today In History

selznick_serlin1On New Year’s Eve 1853, paleontologist Sir Richard Owen (the man who coined the term “dinosaur”) and sculptor Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins hosted a dinner party at London’s Crystal Palace inside the mold Hawkins used to make his sculpture of the Iguanodon.

You can see the (rather extravagant) menu here, which is in a bunch of French, but includes pork chops and young curried rabbit. And Madeira, which is just fine with me.

Twenty of the leading naturalists and scientists of the day were invited and I suspect it was a lot like this, except cooler because A) Ross wasn’t there and 2) THEY WERE EATING DINNER INSIDE A DINOSAUR.

Blues at Wild, 5 PM

It’s for The Conference III Championship Belt. Check the Tale of the Tape.

Sabres at Jets, 6 PM

Records: Sabres (11-24-4, 26 points, 8th in Flortheast); Jets (18-18-5, 41 points, 6th in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: The Jets lost to the freakin’ Sabres 4-2 December 17. Embarrassing.

Last 10: Buffalo 5-3-2; Winnipeg 4-5-1

Historical Context: A party inside a fake dinosaur is cool. Going to Manitoba (today’s high in the ‘Peg: -24 Fahrenheit) to watch these two teams? Not as cool as eating dinner in a dinosaur.

Kings at Stars, 7 PM

Records: Kings (25-11-4, 54 points, 3rd in Pacific); Stars (19-12-7, 45 points, 4th in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: Valeri Nichushkin got the winner in a 5-2 Stars victory at LA Dec. 23.

Last 10: Los Angeles 6-4-0; Dallas 5-3-2

Historical Context: Dinosaurs were a sensation in the mid-19th century (and now, for that matter) — something hidden, just waiting for somebody to discover them and unleash their greatness on the world. Hawkins and Owen were those men — and Dallas is the place where players that many teams were wary of — Nichushkin and Tyler Seguin — have emerged and been embraced.

Blue Jackets at Avalanche, 6 PM Mountain/7 PM Central

Records: Blue Jackets (17-18-4, 38 points, 6th in SUDM); Avalanche (23-11-4, 50 points, 3rd in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: As the Jackets headed out of the west, Nick Foligno scored at OT winner to give the Beejers a 4-3 win over the Avs April 15.

Last 10: Columbus 5-4-1; Colorado 3-3-4

Historical Context: Hawkins didn’t have the great success in America as he did in his home country. He was commissioned to build some dinosaur sculptures for Central Park, but Boss Tweed of Tammany Hall fame nixed the project and, allegedly, the sculptures are buried in the south part of the park. Columbus — moved by a Boss themselves — are similarly buried in the south part of a terrible division.