Nail Yakupov and the Return of Goal Celebrations

This great celebration by the Oilers rookie was one of the better ones in recent memory.  It’s better than Eric Cole’s high fiving of the ref last year and almost makes you ignore just how sweet Yakupov’s goal was.  He bats the puck in out of mid-air to tie the game with 4.7 seconds left in the 3rd period.  An amazing feat on its own, but really it’s the whipped cream topping to the slice of chocolate chess pie that is his celebration.  Fantastic.

Jan 25, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils right wing Ilya Kovalchuk (17) celebrates his overtime game winning goal against the Washington Capitals at the Prudential Center. The Devils defeated the Capitals 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

In the NFL, touchdown celebrations have pretty specific rules around them.  In the NBA, players can be penalized on the court and even fined if they hang on the rim too long after a dunk.  Major League Baseball players pump fists here and there and that’s about it.

But then there’s our beloved puck.  The NHL doesn’t have archaic roles against celebrating.  The guys at Puck Daddy hail Nail Yakupov‘s goal as “death to the NHL’s tedious decorum.”  We agree…and disagree.  To their argument, Yakupov’s whole demeanor is more Alex Ovechkin than Nicklas Lidstrom.  After being drafted he has embraced social media like no player has ever (including the media savvy Ovechkin, who’s twitter account is dormant by comparison).  Like Ovehckin and Sidney Crosby in 2004, Yakupov is the face of the new NHL emerging from the lockout.

March 22, 2012; Philadelphia, PA USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) celebrates his goal during the first period of game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

On the other hand, goal celebrations have a long history of being just plain awesome.  Glorious, unabated, unadultered celebrating. ESPN produced a top 10 video a while back that doesn’t even include the aforementioned Cole celebration.  As the video points out, amazing goal celebrations date back to Tiger Williams and if you wrack your brain you can probably come up with a couple.  I mean, in beer league last week I had myself a nice Patrick Marleau fist pump.  Hockey is a game of passion, and that passion is reflected in the celebration of the most exciting moment in sports: the hockey goal.

Jan 24, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa (81) and right wing Patrick Kane (88) celebrate Hossa game winning goal against the Dallas Stars during the overtime period at the American Airlines Center. The Blackhawks defeated the Stars 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back, goal-scorers.  Looking forward to see what you’ve got in store for us for the 2013 campaign.


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1) K.I.T.T.

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Topics: Goal Celebrations, Nail Yakupov

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