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The Rock: Alcatraz 1969

This week in California history, Alcatraz was seized by eighty-nine Native American protesters on 20 November 1969. The group consisted of community leaders in the Bay Area Native American Coalition and the occupation coalesced as the American Indian Movement (AIM) was gaining momentum in the late 1960s. Alcatraz Island, located in the San Francisco Bay, had been a federal prison before it was closed by the United States government in 1963.


The Rock had previously been a protest site in 1964 when a group of Lakota, as part of a peaceful demonstration, briefly took control of the island. In November 1969, more concerted action was taken and the subsequent occupation came to serve as a pivotal moment of protest towards the federal government’s longstanding poor and paternalistic treatment of Native American peoples. Upon taking control of the island, the group issued a proclamation and hoped that their action would lead to the development of a Native American university and cultural center. One of the occupants was quoted in the Globe and Mail as stating it was “the start of a fight against the stealing of Indian land.”


Los Angeles Kings at Philadelphia Flyers, 4:00PM

2015-16 Season Records: LAK 11-6-0 (1st in the Pacific); PHI 6-8-3 (6th in the Metropolitan)

Leading Scorers: Jeff Carter (7G, 10A); Claude Giroux (5G, 6A)

To put it mildly, the Flyers have terrible so far this season. They are currently 27th in goal differential at an abysmal -15, but not to worry, Hextall’s preaching of accountability will surely help right the ship. In their last six meetings in Philadelphia, the Kings and Flyers have drawn even with L.A. going 3-1-2, however, the Kings have taken three of the last four. The last time the Flyers beat the Kings, at home, in regulation was 25 February 2009. That night, Philly blanked Los Angeles 2-0 with the heroics coming from none other than Jeff Carter, who scored the game winning goal and assisted on the insurance marker. Head-to-head records are often superficial, and I think it’s fair to say which team currently has the edge.

Prediction:  Kings by 1

San Jose Sharks at Boston Bruins, 4:00PM

2015-16 Season Records: SJS 9-8-0 (4th in the Pacific); BOS 8-7-1 (6th in the Atlantic)

Leading Scorers: Joe Pavelski (9G, 6A); David Krejci (8G, 10A);

The one narrative that not enough people are focusing on this week? Martin Jones will face his former team for the first time. Of course, Jones’ tenure with Boston lasted a mere four days. The Bruins originally acquired Jones when they traded Milan Lucic and Colin Miller to the Kings for the goaltender and the 13th overall pick. Shortly thereafter, Boston sent Jones over to San Jose in exchange for Sean Kuraly and the Sharks 2016 1st round pick. Jones posted an impressive .938 SV% in October but is currently at .897 for November as the Sharks continue to struggle. What’s interesting for San Jose is that amid the ongoing Patrick Marleau trade rumors and the fact the team is currently sitting at 19th, is that the pick in the Jones trade is not lottery protected. I’m not suggesting that San Jose is destined for a bottom-five finish, that would be foolhardy, but could you imagine if they secured the 1st overall pick for the first time in franchise history only to see it go to Boston. That would almost be too sharky.

Prediction: Bruins by 1

Anaheim Ducks at Nashville Predators, 5:00PM

2015-16 Season Records: ANA 6-8-4 (5th in the Pacific); NSH 10-3-3 (4th in the Central)

Leading Scorers: Corey Perry (5G, 6A); James Neal (8G, 6A)

The Ducks are road warriors against the Predators. They’ve won four of their last five roadtrips to Nashville, but dropped their most recent matchup in NashVegas earlier this season, as Anaheim struggled out of the gate.  The two met again at the Honda Center on 1 November with the Ducks winning 4-2 and in the process, snapping a five-game losing streak. Since that game, they have gone 3-0-2, a considerable improvement from their last five games in October. The Ducks hope to continue their winning ways in Bridgestone Arena tonight, but fans should be cautiously optimistic as this is still uncharted water. Prior to the 2012-13 season, Anaheim’s record in Nashville dating back to the 2004-05 lockout was an unimpressive 4-8-2.

Prediction: Ducks by 1

New Jersey Devils at Calgary Flames, 6:00PM

2015-16 Season Records: NJD 10-6-1 (4th in the Metropolitan); CGY 6-12-1 (6th in the Pacific)

Leading Scorers: Mike Cammalleri (6G, 11A); Johnny Gaudreau (4G, 13A)

Raise your hand if you predicted the Devils would be jockeying for a Divisional playoff spot? Now put it down because you’re a filthy liar. New Jersey has arguably been the biggest surprise in the Metropolitan so far this season. They’re currently 7-3 over their last ten games and recently passed the Pittsburgh Penguins in the division, and are currently holding onto the first wild card in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, Calgary continues to trend in the opposite direction, they are 4-5-1 over the same span and were outscored 32-26 by opponents.

The only question for tonight, if the Devils lose will they be forced to cede their Calgary Flames-inspired player of the game award to Calgary?

Prediction: Devils by 1

Last Minute of Play:

The occupation lasted nearly two years, coming to an end on 21 June 1971 when the last fifteen people were escorted off the island. During the height of the occupation, it garnered significant media attention and support from celebrities. Creedence Clearwater Revival had even donated a boat to the cause. However, the protest was fractured by a lack of leadership and their ambitious goals for the Rock never materialized. Nevertheless, the Alcatraz occupation was a significant milestone in Native American history and activism. According to historian Van Gosse, “In larger terms, what mattered was that it happened at all. In its wake came dozens of occupations of vacant federal facilities.” As the AIM continued to build in the subsequent years, it led to a new vision for Native Americans in the United States, not just in how they approached their relationship with the federal government but how they saw themselves.


Alcatraz Island lighthouse, 2003. Author: Bruce C. Cooper.

Professor Prediction Record: 9-8

Further Reading

Van Gosse, Rethinking the New left: An Interpretive History, 2005.

*Class is cancelled next week as the Kings do not have another Tuesday game this month. Check back in on December 1st when the Kings host the Canucks and we’ll have a look at Mario Savio.

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.