Great Game Previews In History: 16 January 2014

by J.R.

Today In History

524px-Ivan-Groznyi-ParsunaIvan IV Vasilyevich, Grand Prince of Moscow, is crowned as Tsar of All the Russians on January 16, 1547.

You know him better as Ivan The Terrible.

At 8, Ivan ascended as Grand Prince of Moscow upon the death of his father, Vasili III, who was struck ill with blood poisoning after he developed a boil. His mother acted as regent, but died of what is now believed to be poisoning. Ivan felt put out by the powerful boyars and at just 16, was crowned with Monomakh’s Cap and proclaimed Tsar of All The Russians, the first ruler with that title (though his grandfather, Ivan The Great, used the title tsar).

Ivan ruled until 1584 (!), and his 37 years as tsar show him to be a complex and interesting figure.

Predators at Flyers, 6 PM

Records: Predators (20-21-7, 47 points, 6th in Conference III); Flyers (24-19-4, 52 points, 2nd in SUDM)

Last Time They Met: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the Preds lost in a shootout. Vinny Lacavalier was the only scorer in the skills contest for a 3-2 Flyers win Nov. 30 in Nashville.

Last 10: Nashville 4-3-3; Philadelphia 7-3-0

Historical Context: Newly-acquired Devan Dubnyk is unlikely to play tonight, which is too bad because he’s of Ukrainian extraction. By claiming the title Tsar of All The Russians, Ivan glommed himself to the legacy of the Kievan Rus, an empire based in Kiev which is (wait for it) now in Ukraine.

Kings at Blues, 7 PM

Records: Kings (28-14-5, 61 points, 3rd in Pacific); Blues (32-8-5, 69 points, 2nd in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: Brian Elliott had a 30-save shutout and the Blues ran it up on the Kings 5-0 on January 2.

Last 10: Los Angeles 3-6-1; St. Louis 8-1-1

Historical Context: Much is made of Ivan’s sobriquet, but “terrible” wasn’t necessarily meant as an insult. One scholar said a better translation of the Russian grozny would be courageous, magnificent, magisterial, and keeping enemies in fear, but people in obedience.” I’m not sure the Blues are necessarily “magisterial,” but they certainly inspire fear (and offseason moves). And, as their 5-0 win over the Kings showed, like Ivan, the Blues like being hard on the nobility.

Oilers at Wild, 7 PM

Records: Oilers (15-29-5, 35 points, 7th in Pacific); Wild (25-19-5, 55 points, 4th in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: The Oilers nearly killed the Wild’s postseason chances with a 6-1 win in St. Paul late in the 2013 season.

Last 10: Edmonton 3-5-2; Minnesota 5-5-0

Historical Context: Things got tough in Russia so Ivan saw the need for dramatic change, implementing something called oprichnina. It was a policy of direct control by the tsar in certain territory, a harsh reversal from previous policy, but one Ivan saw as necessary to avoid losing power. Similarly, the Wild changed their policy this season, as our friend Sam Page wrote at SI.com.

Bruins at Stars, 7:30 PM

Records: Bruins (29-15-2, 60 points, 1st in Flortheast); Stars (21-18-7, 49 points, 5th in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: Former Bruins Rich Peverley and Tyler Seguin scored in the shootout to give the Stars a 3-2 win November 5.

Last 10: Boston 5-5-0; Dallas 3-6-1

Historical Context: Ivan’s chosen successor was his son Ivan Ivanovich, who showed flashes of brilliance and an interest in leadership. But Ivan suspected his son was messy, ill-behaved and planning to start a rebellion. In a rash and foolish fit of madness, Ivan struck his son on the temple with a scepter, killing him. Tyler Seguin has 21 goals and 21 assists for the Stars.

Devils at Avalanche, 7 PM Mountain, 8 PM Central

Records: Devils (20-18-10, 50 points, 5th in SUDM); Avalanche (29-12-5, 63 points, 3rd in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: The Devils beat the Avs 1-0 in a shootout March 15, 2012 in what must have been a thrilling contest.

Last 10: New Jersey 5-2-3; Colorado 6-2-2

Historical Context: Ivan is credited with a revival in Russia (specifically of the art and architectural variety). He also had a hot temper.

Jets at Flames, 8 PM

Records: Jets (20-23-5, 45 points, 7th in Conference III); Flames (16-25-6, 38 points, 6th in Pacific)

Last Time They Met: The Devils beat the Avs 1-0 in a shootout March 15, 2012 in what must have been a thrilling contest.

Last 10: Winnipeg 4-6-0; Calgary 2-8-0

Historical Context: Speaking of terrible.

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