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Yakupov Rallies Again

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.


Filed in: Edmonton Oilers, | Oil Patch | Permalink
  Tags: nail+yakupov


Forlorn in VA's avatar

I agree with much of what you say here.  I think the media is being overly critical and a bit ridiculous.

Posted by Forlorn in VA on 01/31/13 at 06:47 AM ET


I saw “old school” Shane Doan shaking his head after the game. My guess is the good ol’ boys in the league will take care of Mr. Yakupov.

Posted by timbits on 01/31/13 at 08:41 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

My guess is the good ol’ boys in the league will take care of Mr. Yakupov.

And my how stupid that will be.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/31/13 at 08:44 AM ET


And my how stupid that will be.

I have always enjoyed Ovechkin’s over the top celebrations, but I must admit there is something more irritating about Yakupov’s style. Can’t put my finger on what it is though. Maybe just that it is the Oilers. There probably isn’t a more self important and arrogant franchise in the NHL, outside of Toronto.

Posted by timbits on 01/31/13 at 09:24 AM ET

Mandingo's avatar

If Nail Yakupov’s name was Tyler Thornton or Hunter Mantooth and he was from Hamilton, Ontario, the Canadian media would treat him like the second coming of Jesus.

Canadians love players who play with emotion…as long as they’re not from Europe.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 01/31/13 at 10:14 AM ET

Lisa Brown's avatar

Oil Country loves players that play with emotion, and right now that is especially true of Yakupov.

Look at how the fan favourite is Smytty. Yakupov and Eberle are certainly gaining in the polls though.

Posted by Lisa Brown on 01/31/13 at 10:23 AM ET


And my how stupid that will be.

Yakupov is going to get his lunch fed to him, because every player in the game is emotional. Expressing emotion in hockey is awesome, but he’s tip-toeing a line that’s close to disrespectful. And, when he does this sh_t in other team’s barns, it’s viewed as crossing that line. Hence, the response from Derek Morris.

Posted by Jesters Dead on 01/31/13 at 01:08 PM ET

Lisa Brown's avatar

But all he did was raise his arm in the air last night in Phoenix. How is that over the top and worthy of Morris’ response?

Not only that, but Morris was after Whitney, not Yakupov.

Posted by Lisa Brown on 01/31/13 at 01:13 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I hope Morris gets suspended for acting like a whiny baby.

Don’t want to get “disrespected”? Stop Yakupov from scoring that goal.  I get that there are a lot of emotionally stunted babies in the NHL who think that a dude being happy his team won the game is somehow direspectful enough to earn him a cheap shot, I just don’t support that mindset.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/31/13 at 01:55 PM ET


But all he did was raise his arm in the air last night in Phoenix.

Yeah, of course that’s all he did.

Posted by Garth on 01/31/13 at 02:04 PM ET

Lisa Brown's avatar

His reaction is in the same video as the goal, it’s the second one.

No ice sliding.

No throwing his glove and pretending to shoot it with his stick.

No jumping in the air.

No kneeling.

No riding his stick across the ice.

It was nothing but standing against the glass and putting his hands in the air.

Posted by Lisa Brown on 01/31/13 at 02:07 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

He also gestured for his teammates to come to him and that could have been construed as a “come get some” gesture aimed at the opposition.

Doesn’t change my opinion of what happened, but he certainly did more than “just putting his hands in the air.”

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/31/13 at 02:36 PM ET

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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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