Great Game Previews In History: 23 January 2014

by J.R.

Today In History

bounty-day-burning-bounty-10151009On this day in 1790, the HMS Bounty mutineers burn the ship in what is now called Bounty Bay at Pitcairn Island, an effort to prevent both detection of the ship and escape by the mutineers.

It sealed the fate of the mutineers, led by Fletcher Christian, who had rebelled against their captain, William Bligh, in part because they’d gotten a taste of the South Pacific and, by gosh, who can blame them if they didn’t want to go back to England after that? It was also necessary for this to be an arduous and difficult journey so it would be appropriate for a movie starring Marlon Brando some years later.

Blackhawks at Wild, 7 PM

Records: Blackhawks (32-8-12, 76 points, 1st in Conference III); Wild (27-20-5, 59 points, 4th in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: Marco Scandella scored the winner for the Wild in a 4-3 Minnesota victory December 5.

Last 10: Chicago 4-1-5; Minnesota 7-3-0

Historical Context: Looks like Zach Parise is ready to return, which must make the Wild feel like the Bounty sailors did after finally arriving in Tahiti. The ship sailed from England for Cape Horn, was rebuffed by the weather, turned east and rounded the Cape of Good Hope, crossed the Indian Ocean and then finally arrived in Tahiti after 10 months at sea. Then, because botany is a delicate thing, got to stay for five months. No wonder they rebelled after leaving.

Blues at Rangers, 6 PM

Records: Blues (33-11-5, 71 points, 2nd in Conference III); Rangers (27-22-3, 57 points, 2nd in SUDM)

Last Time They Met: David Backes had a pair of goals and Alexander Steen had a goal and three assists in a 5-3 Blues win October 12.

Last 10: St. Louis 6-4-0; New York 7-2-1

Historical Context: The Blues, rather quietly, have been slumping — losers of four of their last six, including a flogging by the Devils Tuesday. But be careful who you whip: it was Bligh’s rather heavy hand with the cat o’ nine tails and his repeated abuse of the popular and strong Christian that sparked the uprising.

Maple Leafs at Stars, 7 PM

Records: Maple Leafs (27-20-5, 59 points, 4th in Flortheast); Stars (22-20-8, 52 points, 5th in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: Jonathan Bernier made 48 (!) saves in a 3-2 Toronto shootout win December 5.

Last 10: Toronto 6-4-0; Dallas 2-7-0

Historical Context: Dallas was able to shed the Poophat against Minnesota, but it’s still too early to say they’ve emerged from a disastrous slump. It’s been a difficult journey, like that set to by Bligh after the mutiny. He sailed — in an open boat, without charts and using a quadrant and a pocket watch to navigate — more than 3,600 miles over 47 days from Tofua to East Timor. If Lindy Ruff can overcome his team’s setback with a similarly remarkable run, maybe they’ll make him the Governor of New South Wales as they did Bligh (where he got rebelled against again, for what it’s worth).

Predators at Canucks, 9 PM

Records: Predators (22-22-7, 51 points, 6th in Conference III); Canucks (26-16-9, 61 points, 4th in Pacific)

Last Time They Met: If memory serves, Ryan Kesler had a zillion goals in Vancouver’s 3-1 win in Nashville December 3.

Last 10: Nashville 4-4-2; Vancouver 3-5-2

Historical Context: You know why the Bounty was going to Tahiti? To get breadfruit, which some botanists believed would be a good fruit to import to the British colonies in the Caribbean to use as food for the slaves. It was an interesting strategy, since 1) no one knew if breadfruit would grow in Jamaica (it does) and B) no one knew if the slaves, who, ya know, where not Pacific Islanders, would eat it (initially, they did not). Similarly curious, David Poile, looking for some offensive pop, traded for a defenseman.

Jets at Sharks, 9:30 PM

Records: Jets (23-23-5, 51 points, 7th in Conference III); Sharks (32-12-6, 70 points, 2nd in Pacific)

Last Time They Met: Andrew Ladd scored late to tie it and then was the only scorer in the shootout, leading the Jets to a 5-4 win November 10.

Last 10: Winnipeg 5-5-0; San Jose 7-3-0

Historical Context: Mutiny on the Bounty was nominated for Best Picture in 1963 (it lost to Lawrence of Arabia). Had it won, it would have succeeded West Side Story as the Best Picture winner.

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