Great Game Previews In History: 8 March 2014

by J.R.

Today In History

evil empireRonald Reagan, in a March 8, 1983 speech to the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, called the Soviet Union an “evil empire”:

They preach the supremacy of the state, declare its omnipotence over individual man and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the Earth. They are the focus of evil in the modern world….

So, in your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride, the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.

Blues at Avalanche, 1 PM Mountain/2 PM Central

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

Wild at Stars, 7:30 PM

Records: Wild (34-21-7, 75 points, 4th in Conference III); Stars (30-23-10, 70 points, 5th in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: It was a shutout for the Stars, a 4-0 Dallas win January 21.

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

Historical Context: The “Evil Empire” speech is seen as another example of Reagan abandoning the long strategy of detente with the Soviets in favor of a more aggressive stance that included an escalation of the arms race. The Wild ramped up their weapons at the deadline, partially, one assumes, to stave off the charging Stars, who — in contrast — did very little, except add Tim Thomas, who is very likely a big Reagan man himself.

Senators at Jets, 2 PM

Records: Senators (27-25-11, 65 points, 6th in Flortheast); Jets (30-27-7, 67 points, 6th in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: Clarke MacArthur got the winner for Sens in a 4-3 victory January 2.

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

Historical Context: Every game must feel like Armageddon for Winnipeg, their season taken to the brink early, but now hanging around the race. Are they simply a weak husk of a collapsing monster or an emergent power?

Blue Jackets at Predators, 7 PM

Records: Blue Jackets (32-26-5, 69 points, 4th in SUDM); Predators (26-27-10, 62 points, 7th in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: Marek Mazanec (!) had a 19-save shutout for a 4-0 Preds win in Columbus November 27.

Last 10: Columbus 6-3-1; Nashville 3-5-2

Historical Context: In today’s too-good-to-be-true moment, the NHL has scheduled Columbus to visit Nashville on the anniversary of the Evil Empire speech. Ken Hitchcock, rather famously (at least, rather famously if you followed the Blue Jackets or Predators) used to call Nashville “the evil empire.” No joke.