by Lisa Brown on 01/31/13 at 01:15 AM ET
Listening to Don Cherry on CBC's coach's corner Saturday, you would think that Nail Yakupov committed sports biggest foul. But looking at the source, that reaction was to be expected. Mr. Cherry is old school and while he can be quite outspoken, he prefers his hockey players to be quiet and demure small town Canadian boys.
As we all know, Yakupov is very Russian, and he has a strong passion for the game and everything he does, including celebrating.
As can be expected, I felt this celebration to be heartfelt, genuine and exciting. This was the most memorable goal of Yakupov’s short career, and it was a clutch goal; a goal that earned his team an extra period and with less than 4 seconds on the clock.
But as much as I enjoyed Yakupov’s over the top celebration, I certainly wasn’t expecting that to happen with each of his NHL goals.
Who would have thought he would score another game changing goal so soon?
Wednesday night in Phoenix, Yakupov batted in the Oilers' overtime winner. And how did he celebrate? He threw his hands in the air and called to his teammates 'we won.'
Looks to me like he's just an excitable young player, and Edmonton deserves that. After so many losses, so much heartbreak there is a whole new attitude in the arena and in the dressing room.
It was a little over the top to criticize Yakupov too much for celebrating one goal. Let him have his moments, he's going to score lots of goals over the course of his career. Many will be game winners, many will give his team that extra period. If Yakupov celebrates, he's not trying to be disrespectful, he's just excited. Given time, that youthful excitement could dissapear. But the excitement is here now, let's enjoy it, and let him enjoy it too.
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
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