This guy is Admiral Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth. He's an outstanding example of the kind of extraordinary men who formed the backbone of the Royal Navy during the days of the British Empire. He fought privateers off Newfoundland, captured Java from the Dutch, and in one incident, swam out from shore to the troop carrier Dutton, aground in heavy seas with a line, which resulted in the survival of almost the entire ship's company.
Before this, however, Pellew was commander of the frigate Indefatigable, stationed off Ushant. In 1795, a French invasion fleet with 17 ships of the line and fifteen thousand troops was dispatched to land in Ireland, then a hotbed of revolution, and to march inland, hoping to bring civil war on the island of England. The English blockade fleet, under Admiral Colpoys, was driven by bad weather into the Atlantic Ocean, and only Pellew's frigate remained, despite days of foul weather- the worst Pellew would ever experience during his illustrious career. Without time to alert Colpoys, Pellew devised a plan. Under cover of night, the Indefatigable would infiltrate the French fleet, firing off misleading signal flares and guns, causing disruption and possible ruin for the French.
It was a brilliant success. One battleship, the Seduisant ran aground, while the rest of the fleet was completely scattered. They eventually reassembled, but too late for a successful invasion. As they returned to port, Pellew picked out one damaged French vessel, and despite being rather heavily outgunned, managed to force it aground as well. At the time, Pellew was a promising but still untested officer. After this incident, where his ship single-handedly may have changed the course of world history, he was rapidly promoted and eventually became one of the finest officers that the world's greatest navy ever produced.
Where, you ask, are we going with this? I'll tell you: Matt Greene.
James Mirtle has a nice piece up today about the not-ready-for-primetime Los Angeles Kings. Here is his rendition of the teams depth chart on defense:
Jack Johnson - Matt Greene
Denis Gauthier - Tom Preissing
Peter Harrold - Drew Doughty
That is an ugly group. Looking at it, though, we can say a few things about Matt Greene:
a) He's being thrown into the fire.
b) By the end of the year, we'll know what he's made of.
Greene has shown promise. He plays physically. He sacrifices the body. Among Oilers regulars last season, he had the nicest GAON/60. Of course, he posted that in a prime position, with decent teammates and nobodies on the other end of the ice, and he still got outscored, but he was certainly a low-event, defensively reliable guy in that situation. And he's going to get a chance to be a legitimate, tough-opposition, shut-down defender, because:
a) Doughty is 18.
b) Harrold and Preissing can't do the job.
c) Denis Gauthier spent last season in the AHL, and prior to that got murdered by second-pairing opponents.
Still, while the smart money is on Greene being in way over his head and ending the year a scorched, empty hulk of a defenseman, he could surprise. He's young yet, he seems bright enough, and he certainly has some physical tools to work with. If he's going to break out, it'll be this year.
And it will take a legendary effort to be successful.