Great Game Previews In History: 18 March 2014

by J.R.

Today In History

Commune_28_marsThe government of France abandons Paris on March 18, 1871, marking the beginning of the rule of the Paris Commune.

Adolphe Thiers, president of the Republic, ordered the retreat to Versailles of the 40,000 troops of the regular army in Paris. With that, the National Guard, the army of the Commune, took over government offices and gunpowder stores (they also killed two generals, which sparked the armed conflict earlier in the day).

And for the next two months or so, Paris would be ruled by a revolutionary government of varying degrees of socialism.

Wild at Islanders, 6 PM

Records: Wild (35-23-10, 80 points, 4th in Conference III); Islanders (26-34-9, 61 points, 8th in SUDM)

Last Time They Met: Kyle Okposo got the winner in St. Paul for a 5-4 Isles victory December 29.

Last 10: Minnesota 5-2-3; New York 4-5-1

Historical Context: Matt Moulson returns to Nassau County for the first time since he was traded to Buffalo and thence to Minnesota. If he should do in his old team, it will be as if the Isles sowed the seeds of their own defeat, much as the French government did with Paris. When concluding the peace in the Franco-Prussian War, the French agreed that the regular army would lay down their arms (in exchange, the Germans were paid 200 million francs and agreed not to occupy Paris), but the National Guard would remain armed to keep the peace in the capital. When things went pear-shaped during the time of the Commune, the French Army had to face a force that never stopped carrying weapons.

Stars at Penguins, 6 PM

Records: Stars (32-24-11, 75 points, 5th in Conference III); Penguins (44-19-4, 92 points, 1st in SUDM)

Last Time They Met: Kari Lehtonen got a 3-0 shutout January 26 for Dallas.

Last 10: Dallas 6-3-1; Pittsburgh 4-4-2

Historical Context: And what, ultimately, was the legacy of the Commune? Did it spark a broad people’s uprising in France that would rule the country with egalitarianism and without regard for class for centuries? Er, well. No. France didn’t elect a Socialist to high office until the 1930s and didn’t have another uprising in Paris until 1944 and that against the German occupiers. If Dallas doesn’t make the playoffs, what will the legacy of this infusion of enthusiasm be? Will it be a hint at a new dawn in Big D or just a bump in the road for the Conference III establishment?

Avalanche at Canadiens, 5:30 PM Mountain/6:30 PM Central

Records: Avalanche (44-19-5, 93 points, 2nd in Conference III); Canadiens (37-25-7, 81 points, 3rd in Flortheast)

Last Time They Met: J-S Giguere — a Montreal native — made 29 saves in a 4-1 Avs win November 2.

Last 10: Colorado 7-3-0; Montreal 5-4-1

Historical Context: Giguere is expected to start in his hometown tonight in a game that also marks Patrick Roy’s return to Montreal. Like Georges Clemenceau — one of the leaders of the Commune — will they return in glory? Clemenceau ended up as prime minister during World War I and, in doing so, signed the Treaty of Versailles that brought Alsace and Lorraine back to France, from those Germans that had a hand in this whole mess in the first place.

Blackhawks at Flyers, 6:30 PM

Records: Blackhawks (39-15-14, 92 points, 3rd in Conference III); Flyers (35-25-7, 77 points, 2nd in SUDM)

Last Time They Met: The Blackhawks won 7-2 — a scoreline that has occurred in at least two other Blackhawks games I can think of this season — December 11.

Last 10: Chicago 5-5-0; Philadelphia 7-2-1

Historical Context: At some point, Teuvo Teravainen will make his debut for Chicago probably. The Commune counted on late-arriving foreigners for assistance, too. The Polish general Jaroslav Dombroski was a former Russian Imperial Army officer who fled to France after the January Uprising. He led the Communard Army with aplomb. Then he died.

Predators at Oilers, 8:30 PM

Records: Predators (29-29-10, 68 points, 7th in Conference III); Oilers (24-36-9, 57 points, 7th in Pacific)

Last Time They Met: The Oilers won 5-1 January 26. Until Nashville was out-possessed by Chicago in a win last week, that was the last time the Preds lost the FenClose battle.

Last 10: Nashville 4-6-0; Edmonton 4-3-3

Historical Context: Someone has to be last and these are those teams. Both have been done in by woeful goaltending (though the Preds have certainly been boosted by Pekka Rinne’s return). Lenin, though an admirer of the Commune generally, said it was undone by “excessive magnanimity.”