Great Game Previews In History: 23 March 2014

by J.R.

Today in History

431px-Borovikovskiy_PtPavla1GRMTsar Paul I is assassinated on this day in 1801. But it was Russia — so nothing was easy.

Paul had angered the nobility through a number of his efforts at modernization (or humanity). He tried to foist a code of chivalry on them, he discovered widespread corruption in the treasury, he had the audacity to repeal laws allowing corporal punishment of peasants. What a jerk!

A conspiracy was organized by Counts Peter Ludwig von der Pahlen, Nikita Petrovich Panin, and the adventurer Admiral Ribas (NB: why isn’t “Adventurer” still a job?). Ribas died, as adventurers do, so the plan was delayed, but on the night of March 23, Paul was murdered in his bedroom by a band of former military officers, who charged into his bedroom drunk and found the tsar hiding behind some drapes in the corner. The usurpers tried to force him into abdication. Paul resisted and one of the assassins struck him with a sword and then he was strangled and trampled to death.

Predators at Blackhawks, 6 PM

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

Blues at Penguins, Noon

Records: Blues (47-16-7, 101 points, 1st in Conference III); Penguins (46-19-5, 97 points, 1st in SUDM)

Last Time They Met: Kevin Shattenkirk got the odd one in a 2-1 Blues win November 9.

Last 10: St. Louis 7-2-1; Pittsburgh 6-3-1

Historical Context: The Blues have lost two straight and suddenly the Hawks are lurking in the rearview; this despite that the Blues clinched a playoff spot last night with the Coyotes’ loss. Ken Hitchcock is a little miffed with his team and is trying to slap them into sensibility. When Paul was murdered, his son He was succeeded by his son, Alexander I, who was in the palace. One of the assassins found Alexander, and told him he was tsar with the pronouncement: “Time to grow up! Go and rule!” Hitch might borrow that.

Wild at Red Wings, 6:30 PM

Records: Wild (36-24-11, 83 points, 4th in Conference III); Red Wings (33-24-13, 79 points, 5th in Flortheast)

Last Time They Met: ‘Twas just yesterday when Gustav Nyquist’s third-period goal held up for a 3-2 Wings win.

Last 10: Minnesota 3-3-4; Detroit 5-4-1

Historical Context: Paul’s reputation is that of a bit of nutter: he spent a lot of money building castles, tried to use Cossacks to invade India and dug up Potemkin (lover of his mother, Catherine the Great) and had his bones scattered. Speaking of kooky Russians: Ilya Bryzgalov likely to start tonight for Minnesota.