Last night Nail Yakupov scored a huge goal for the Edmonton Oilers, knocking the puck out of the air – catching it flush, mind you – in overtime to grab the two points for his boys on the road. It was his fourth of the year, and even bigger than the one that tied the game up against the Kings that brought about his Theo Fleury-esque sprint celebration that sparked so much conversation. And for reasons unbeknownst to me, apparently his latest reaction, the celebration below, managed to piss people off too (Derek Morris and colour guy Tyson Nash, specifically).
The large, large majority of people loved Yakupov’s first display of exuberance (the Fleury slide), and were less than pleased at folks like myself who didn’t feel the same way. I’m an unabashed Yak fan, I just think skating away from your teammates to celebrate is pretty weaksauce, and when they finally did catch him, he still laid face-down and didn’t engage them, so yeah, I said so. I knew that wouldn’t go over well in the dressing room, and we did see some highlights of guys mocking his celebration in practice, and heard his teammate Eric Belanger say he could’ve done without it (and I’m guessing others held their tongues). Still, folks like myself were in the minority, as evidenced by tweets like Adam Proteau’s of The Hockey News.
Fans who hate Nail Yakupov’s celebration should be tagged electronically and never allowed to cheer in an NHL arena again.
— Adam Proteau (@Proteautype) January 25, 2013
Anywho, last night when Nail scored he did the most amazing thing your teammate can do: he’s pumped, his arms are in the air, he’s waving his teammates in, and he’s going to celebrate with the boys. It was an OT winner, after all. By a rookie! The only OT winner I’ve seen less-celebrated was Matt Frattin’s against Buffalo the other night. You’d need valium to have smaller reactions than Yakupov and Frattin had. I’m sure his teammates love that he seems to have gotten the message – we won – and he made a change to represent that.
So then…what the hell is Derek Morris doing after this? You can actually hear him say the word “celebration” towards the end of the clip. And Tyson Nash – love the guy, he’s gregarious, he treats people extremely well, but…what? “Derek Morris, not happy, he wants to give it someone for that celebration…”
“Yakupov might wanna get out of there.”
Why? Then they show the replay of the Yakupov celly, and Nash says “Ah, I’m not a big fan of that.” Honest question: of what? Moderately displayed happiness? I legitimately don’t get it in this case.
I understand that’s a Phoenix broadcast, and they like to spin things the home team’s way as most broadcasters do, so maybe it was just something to be upset about after the loss, but good gravy. If that’s no good, Yakupov should print out my list of suggestions for his upcoming goal celebrations:
* Play a single, sad note on a violin
* Get a formal apology notarized and submitted to opponent’s dressing room STAT
* Display empathy by openly weeping for opponent’s frustrations
* Group hug with opponent’s team instead of selfishly only hugging teammates
* One word: seppuku
I dunno. I don’t expect fans, who watch the game purely for entertainment, to understand why I thought his first celebration was a bit much. But I do expect hockey players, who play (or discuss) the game for a living, to understand that a guy is allowed to reasonably celebrate an OT winner.
Yakupov’s rookie season is off to a great start, and he’s going to be a lot of fun to follow. And assuming he agrees take one of my suggestions, we shouldn’t have any problems going forward.
— Taylor Hall (@hallsy04) January 31, 2013