Great Game Previews In History: 18 January 2014

by J.R.

Today in History

800px-The_First_Fleet_entering_Port_Jackson,_January_26,_1788,_drawn_1888_A9333001hThe first ships of the so-called First Fleet sailed into Botany Bay, south of what is now Sydney, Australia.

Eleven ships and more than 1,000 people said 15,000 miles from Britain to Australia (and had a survival rate of 97 percent or so), with the last port of call being Cape Town — some 6,833 miles east. It was an incredible feat, especially since the vast, vast majority of the people on the journey were convicts and not, ya know, sailors.

Avalanche at Predators, 7 PM Central/6 PM Mountain

Records: Avalanche (30-12-5, 65 points, 3rd in Conference III); Predators (21-21-7, 49 points, 6th in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: Colin Wilson played one of the best games of his life with two of each in a 6-4 Nashville win Nov. 6.

Last 10: Colorado 7-1-2; Nashville 4-3-3

Historical Context: In the interest of propriety, I won’t make an Avs-convicts joke. However, I will point out this piece of thievery perpetuated by Matt Duchene:

Stars at Wild, 8 PM

Records: Stars (21-19-7, 49 points, 5th in Conference III); Wild (26-19-5, 57 points, 4th in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: Dallas only put 19 on goal in a 5-1 Wild win Oct. 19.

Last 10: Dallas 2-7-1; Minnesota 6-4-0

Historical Context: It’s apparently Hockey Day Minnesota, which falls suspiciously on the same day as Hockey Day In Canada. Anywho, as the First Fleet was getting things set up, they were surprised to find their new home visited by a fleet of French ships. The French fleet had been told they’d find a thriving colony. Instead they found a not-yet-established settlement less well provisioned than themselves. Expectations are everything in hockey and in exploration. The Stars elevated expectations but haven’t fulfilled them and the Wild will never meet the expectations of Minnesotans, no matter what they do.

Oilers at Jets, 1 PM

Records: Oilers (15-30-5, 35 points, 7th in Pacific); Jets (21-23-5, 47 points, 7th in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: Taylor Hall had a goal and two assists in a 6-2 Oilers win Dec. 23.

Last 10: Edmonton 2-6-2; Winnipeg 5-5-0

Historical Context: As mentioned, it’s Hockey Day in Canada and what better way to celebrate than by watching the two last place teams in the west battle it out! In any case, the reason the First Fleet landed at Botany Bay was due to a flattering account by Captain James Cook, who promised a deep, protected harbor with wonderful land for farming and what-have-you nearby. But Botany Bay is actually open, shallow and the land around it isn’t suited for agriculture. Thankfully, James Cook didn’t lead this trip into the promised land and Captain Arthur Phillips found a much more suitable place north of Botany Bay — a deep, well-protected harbor, which we now call Sydney. If Winnipeggers were promised glory from Claude Noel — who didn’t deliver — maybe Paul Maurice’s new direction will bear fruit (never thought I’d get there, did ya?).

Ducks at Blues, 7 PM

Records: Ducks (36-9-5, 77 points, 1st in Pacific); Blues (32-9-5, 69 points, 2nd in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: Ryan Getzlaf had the winner in a 4-2 Ducks win, a rare loss at home for the Blues, Dec. 7.

Last 10: Anaheim 8-2-0; St. Louis 8-2-0

Historical Context: After losing last night to the Conference III points leaders in Chicago, the Ducks have to go back-to-back and play the Conference III Championship Belt holders. An arduous, First Fleetish journey.