Great Game Previews In History: 14 March 2014

by J.R.

Today In History

800px-IvryrubensOn March 14, 1590, Huguenot forces led by King Henry IV of France defeated the Catholic League led by Duc de Mayenne at the Battle of Ivry during the French Wars of Religion.

Henry had moved to occupy the League-occupied city of Dreux, but the forces of Mayenne — bolstered by Swiss infantry and Flemish pikemen — gave chase, intending to break a siege. Henry deployed his army — outnumbered badly, with the Catholic League having 12,000 foot soldiers to 8,000 Huguenots — on the plain of Saint André near Ivry.

Henry gave a pre-game pep talk:

“Companions! If you today run at risk with me, I will also run at risk with you; I will be victorious or die. God is with us. Look at his and our enemies. Look at your king. Hold your ranks, I beg of you; and if the heat of battle makes you leave them, think also of rallying back: therein lies the key to victory. You will find it among those three trees that you can see over there on your right side. If you lose your ensigns, cornets or flags, do never lose sight of my panache; you will always find it on the road to honour and victory.”

And then with volleys from six royal cannon, the battle was joined.

Predators at Blackhawks, 7 PM

Records: Predators (28-28-10, 66 points, 7th in Conference III); Blackhawks (38-14-14, 90 points, 3rd in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: The teams split the first two contests in the series, both at Bridgestone Arena. Nashville won the first 7-2 November 16 and Chicago the second 3-1 December 17.

Last 10: Nashville 3-5-2; Chicago 5-4-1

Historical Context: Henry was able to claim the crown of France after winning at Ivry, at least ostensibly (he eventually had to relent and convert to Catholicism before taking real power). The loser of tonight’s game will claim the Crown of Fecal Matter. Like the Huguenots were at Ivry, the Predators seem badly outgunned in this one. Henry caught a break when Mayenne’s mercenaries — who were sympathetic to the Huguenots — simply fired into the air or charged with their spears at rest. Nashville may need a similar lucky break.

Rangers at Jets, 7 PM

Records: Rangers (35-28-4, 74 points, 3rd in SUDM); Jets (30-28-9, 69 points, 6th in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: Olli Jokinen scored twice in a 5-2 Jets win at MSG December 2.

Last 10: New York 4-5-1; Winnipeg 3-3-4

Historical Context: The Jets, after inserting themselves into the playoff conversation with a win streak bifurcated by the Olympics, have lost five straight (0-2-3). Henry had a similar predicament after Ivry. Despite being the only credible claimant, Paris was besieged and those sieges had to be broken before he could truly take power.

Flames at Stars, 7 PM

Records: Flames (26-33-7, 63 points, 6th in Pacific); Stars (32-23-10, 74 points, 5th in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: Tyler Seguin had four goals and an assist in a 7-3 Stars win November 14.

Last 10: Calgary 5-5-0; Dallas 7-2-1

Historical Context: The Stars are the team nobody wants to play — and who can blame them? They are relentless offensively, just as Henry was at Ivry. Sending line after line at the Catholic League — who were draped in confusion and disarray — Henry gave chase to the scattered forces across the countryside, even after decisively winning at the battle itself.

Ducks at Avalanche, 7 PM Mountain/8 PM Central

Records: Ducks (43-16-7, 93 points, 1st in Pacific); Avalanche (43-18-5, 91 points, 2nd in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: Jamie McGinn had two goals and Semyon Varlamov made 35 saves in a 6-1 Avs victory October 2, which is when this happened:

Last 10: Anaheim 3-5-2; Colorado 7-3-0

Historical Context: Henry’s ascent to the throne was a bit of a surprise — not least of which was that his Protestantism was considered a perpetual bar to his claim. But people shock you — and so do teams, notably the newly-minted second-place Colorado Avalanche, who’ll try to solidify that position against one of the best in the West.