There has been a great deal of talk about Nail Yakupov’s exuberant goal celebration since last night’s incredible finish to the Edmonton Oilers vs. Los Angeles Kings game. First, let’s put that goal into the context of the game – after a number of bizarre penalties (double-faceoff violation penalty and instigating with a visor rule – I’d never heard of either, but they are legitimate!) and a last second disallowed goal – Yakupov’s game tying goal at the last 4 seconds of regulation play was electrifying for both the players and the fans at Rexall Place.
Yakupov’s celebration was pure joy. This is precisely why we watch the game of hockey. There is nothing better than to see players having fun out there, enjoying the game that has been their passion from a young age. All of their hopes and dreams are realized out on that ice, and even more so when something like this happens. The entire arena at Rexall went from angry and disgruntled to crazy overjoyed, LOUD and ecstatic, all in one second. This is what it is all about and this is precisely why we love the game of hockey.
I never want to see Nail Yakupov lose his joy of playing hockey – what a crazy wonderful joie de vivre. Let Nail be who he is and you will find this game much more exciting; more crazy and wonderful than ever before. Watch that video again — how can you NOT enjoy that! I’m still smiling and laughing.