Preview Professor: Rage Against the Machine

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This week in California history, Mario Savio delivered his iconic speech on the steps of Sproul Hall at the University of California, Berkeley in 1964. Savio was a philosophy student and became the driving force behind the Free Speech Movement that came to a tipping point on 2 December 1964. Berkeley had become a site for student dissent in the early part of the decade as civil rights activism and opposition to the Vietnam War increased on campus. School officials responded by banning on-campus political activity, despite the fact that this move contravened free speech rights entrenched in the First Amendment. Throughout the Fall of 1964, students had attempted to reason with the university regarding this policy and in a last ditch effort, thousands descended upon Sproul Hall and staged a sit-in. It was there where Savio delivered an impassioned speech chastising the university’s stance on political advocacy and freedom of speech, likening the institution to a corporation where students were simply cogs in the machine.

Arizona Coyotes at Nashville Predators, 5:00PM

2015-16 Season Records: ARI 13-9-1 (3rd in the Pacific); NSH 12-7-4 (4th in the Central)

Leading Scorers: Max Domi (8G, 12A); James Neal (9G, 8A)

Nashville has won four straight at home against Phoenix Arizona dating back to the lockout shortened season. However, the last time the Coyotes won at Bridgestone Arena it was a pretty memorable game. In March 2013, Nasvhille experienced the largest number of cooler than average days than any month that year and when the Coyotes rolled into town on March 28th, they certainly brought the desert heat. Within the first ten minutes of the first period, Phoenix scored 5 unanswered goals. Somehow Nashville rallied back, but came up short in a 7-4 loss. I wouldn’t expect that type of high-flying offence tonight, but you know that the Predators are probably due since they have been stockpiling goals from two weekends ago.

Prediction: Predators by 1

Dallas Stars at Calgary Flames, 6:00PM

2015-16 Season Records: DAL 19-5-0 (1st in the Central); CGY 8-14-2 (6th in the Pacific)

Leading Scorers: Jamie Benn (18G, 17A); Johnny Gaudreau (5G, 16A)

Death, taxes, and Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin putting up points against the Calgary Flames. We get so few guarantees in life, but you can always bank on these three. Since joining the Stars for the 2013-14 season, Seguin has 5 goals and 5 assists in six meetings with the Flames. Even better is his counterpart, Benn, who racked up 6 goals and 8 assists in those games.

The dynamic duo are currently sitting second and third for league scoring just past the quarter mark for this season, and while there are still plenty of games left to be played, the pair has the opportunity to reach an historic milestone. Excluding the great performances of Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos in the 2012-13 lockout shortened season, there have only been ten sets of players from the same club to finish #1 and #2 in scoring in full seasons since 1967-68. Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr were the last to accomplish the feat twenty seasons ago with 161 and 149 points respectively. Lemieux had previously done this as well with Kevin Stevens and Wayne Gretzky did it three times in Edmonton with Jari Kurri and Paul Coffey (x2).  Let’s also not forget the five-straight times that Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito finished first and second from 1970 to 1975. If Benn and Seguin were to pull this off, they would certainly find themselves in some illustrious company.

Prediction: Dallas by 2

Vancouver Canucks at Los Angeles Kings, 7:30PM

2015-16 Season Records: VAN 9-9-7 (4th in the Pacific); LAK 14-8-1 (1st in the Pacific)

Leading Scorers: Daniel Sedin (11G, 16A); Jeff Carter (10G, 12A)

This will be first of two meetings between the Canucks and Kings this month. They haven’t squared off since October 13th, but this matchup already feels so odious that it almost makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part or even passively take part. To win tonight, Los Angeles will really need to put their bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, and upon all the appartuses at their disposal from the goalmouth outwards if they hope to prevent the Canucks from working at all.


Canucks fans will certainly be familiar with demonstrations, but some may argue that there is a fine line between advocating for freedom of expression and being irrationally upset that your team lost a hockey game.

Prediction: Kings by 1

Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks, 7:30PM

2015-16 Season Records: PIT 13-8-2 (4th in the Metropolitan); SJS 14-9-0 (2nd in the Pacific);

Leading Scorers: Evgeni Malkin (11G, 11A); Joe Pavelski (12G, 11A)

The Sharks have won ten-straight at home against the Penguins. In fact, Pittsburgh has not won in San Jose since 22 October 1997. At that time, Darryl Sutter was behind the bench for the wrong California team and Patrick Marleau was beginning his rookie season. That was eighteen years ago! That victory was actually so long ago that we were still getting incredible performances from Jaromir Jagr when we could still expect to get incredible performances from him on a game-by-game basis.

Jaromir Jagr


To recap, when the Penguins last beat the Sharks in San Jose, Pittsburgh had a twenty-five year old Jaromir Jagr on their roster. He went on to win the scoring title at the end of that season, the first of four consecutive Art Ross Trophies from 1998 to 2001, where he piled up 173 goals and 273 assists in that span.

Prediction: Sharks by 2

Last Minute of Play

While Savio’s speech would have certainly galvanized the masses in attendance, Berkeley responded to the student demonstration by rigorously enforcing its anti-political activity policies. Throughout the evening of December 2nd and well into the early morning, police arrested more than 700 students, 600 of whom were later tried and found guilty trespassing and/or resisting arrest. Perhaps the university administration had a change of heart over the holidays or they simply realized their policy on political activity was no longer tenable, either way, Berkeley rescinded the ban within a month of the Sproul Hall incident. However, the change did not assuage the masses and tensions continued to run high between students and the university for the rest of the decade.

Two Minutes for Delay of Game

Long before I heard the Sproul Hall speech, Good Riddance had inadvertently introduced me to Mario Savio by way of the song “Article IV.” The Santa Cruz punk band sampled Savio’s speech at the outset of the track before a simple bass line gives way to a ballad about the turmoil in the United States in the late 1960s. It is the seventh song on the 1999 album, Operation Phoenix, which I thoroughly recommend.

Preview Professor Record: 10-11

Professor Mike hails from Sudbury, Ontario (4 hours north of Toronto) a place that has more Kings connections than you’d think. The city’s northern boundary reaches as far as the community of Levack, hometown of Kings great Dave Taylor. As a child, Mike once met Taylor in a gravel pit, as you can imagine, he was thoroughly impressed. He has also spent more than a few bleary-eyed nights at the Beef n Bird, a tavern founded by Justin Williams’ great uncle Jerry Toppazzini. Mike’s only wish is that one day people will call him “the Professor” with the same adoration bestowed upon Ben Scrivens. You can follow Mike Commito on Twitter @MikeCommito.