YAK CITY

Jason Gregor
January 25 2013 12:37AM

I suspect every Oiler fan was five seconds away from losing their mind on the referees, after one of the worst officiated NHL games I've seen in years, but then in a span of four seconds Nail Yakupov, who was horrific at batting practice in Pittsburgh at the 2012 draft, did his best Jose Bautista and Theo Fleury impersonations and OilersNation went into hysterics.

I'm sure some fun sponge will claim Yakupov's celebration was over the top, but in a sport, and society,  that has become incredibly politically correct it was a welcome change.

In a game that should have been 6-5 instead of 2-1, due to 17 combined powerplays, the Oilers got a miraculous goal/swing from Yakupov with 4.7 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime. And then Sam Gagner won it in OT, fittingly with a powerplay goal.

In case you were living under a rock tonight, here is Yakupov's Bautista/Fleury heroics/celebration. How much fun is Yakupov having? I never had a problem when he was celebrating for the Russians and I don't have a problem with this celebration either. In fact, I thought it was great.

I have a feeling Oiler fans are in for one hell of a rollercoaster ride this season. You'll have great comebacks like you've seen in Vancouver and v. the Kings and you'll likely also see a few stinkers like Tuesday's debacle v. the Sharks. But the Oilers will be entertaining.

GAME THOUGHTS

  • Excellent bounce back performance by Devan Dubnyk. He got a bit of love from his goal posts early on a 5-on-3, and that seemed to give him some confidence. He got stronger as the game went on.
     
  • Krueger made some smart decisions all night. One of his best was putting Eric Belanger on the ice in the final ten seconds. He won the draw cleanly, and that led directly to Yakupov's goal. Belanger took a lot of heat last year, but he's been very good so far this season. Especially on the PK and faceoffs.
     
  • As expected Ryan Nugent-Hopkins played his best game of the season. He created numerous chances, scored the tying goal that was disallowed by a putrid call and the assisted on the game winner. Solid performance.
     
  • Justin Schultz played over 27 minutes and looked good and added two assists. He is getting better every game.
     
  • Ales Hemsky was ripping slapshots all night. Hemsky has been flying so far this season, and if he keeps shooting like that he'll score much more frequently than he has in the past.
     
  • Mark Fistric did exactly what the Oilers needed. He was solid on the PK and delivered a few crushing hits. A few good debut in Oilers silks.
     
  • I sat in the crowd and heard one of the best lines I've heard in a long time. It happened right after the Kings went on their first 5-on-3. "Get off your knees ref you're blowing the game." My wife and I laughed hard at that one. Kudos to whoever said it.
     
  • The new faceoff rule was called correctly even if you hate it. 
     
  • I'm not sure which call was worse Ladislav Smid's first penalty or Fistric's. Fistric barely touched Brown; I thought that was the worst of a bad bunch.
     
  •  I wonder how many fans will be jacked up for the Flames game on Saturday. The best part is that Wanye gets to write the GDB for both Oilersnation and Flamesnation...Should be gold.
     
  • The only thing I didn't like tonight was fans tossing stuff on the ice. I understand your frustration, but no need for that. The worst are those who try to throw a glass of draft with no lid on it. All you do is spray other fans in front of you. Of course throwing anything is just plain stupid, but a lidless beer is the dumbest.
     
  • Taylor Hall had the puck a lot tonight, but he didn't finish. I sense he'll break out against Calgary like Nugent-Hopkins did tonight.
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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 bdiddy18
January 25 2013, 09:35AM
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I would like to thank the Referees for pretty much singing a lullaby to my 4 year old son so that by the 2nd period he was falling asleep and asking me to go home and complaining about a boring game.

Bribery ensued..thank you 55% of candy(popocorn) and 40% of merchandise .. and the boy hung on to ALMOST the very end. After the disallowed goal we had jackets on and walking in concourse to head out then we heard the YAK ATTACK.

Eyes wide open for OT and we jumped with the rest for the GWG.

I think the CITY woke up last night..the town is buzzing this morning.

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#52 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 25 2013, 09:35AM
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In the cold light of day... that game still looks insane.

The worst offences though have to be the 3 goals that didn't get tallied. The Oil and the Kings each lost a goal from an early whistle when the tenders never had control of the puck and the blown interference call... crazy.

The refs decided to play against both teams last night.

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#53 106 and 106
January 25 2013, 09:40AM
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Props to Belanger for a clean face-off win against their face-off specialist (cleanly, too).

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#54 tileguy
January 25 2013, 09:45AM
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Fleury's tweet after seeing the yak goal

Theo Fleury✔ @TheoFleury14

Am I trending yet hahahahaha!!!!

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#55 bdiddy18
January 25 2013, 09:53AM
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tileguy wrote:

Fleury's tweet after seeing the yak goal

Theo Fleury✔ @TheoFleury14

Am I trending yet hahahahaha!!!!

The better tweet was when he said I am Theo Fleury and I approve this celly !

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#56 Smokey
January 25 2013, 09:53AM
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I suspect that Yak saved thd officials from a police escourt to the airport, and a few extra pizza boxes and beer cups from being hurled on the ice. I hope those lingere hockey league refs never ref here in Yak City again. If those bozos ref here again its going to take more then Yak interventjon to save their bacon.

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#57 Mikey
January 25 2013, 09:55AM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

Not to say the refs weren't awful, but they're into game #3 as well. Maybe cut them a break.

How'd the Oilers do in game #2?

The oilers had a disastrous first period and then adjusted for the next 2 periods. The refs had the same chance but didn't adjust.

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#58 Eastern Oil
January 25 2013, 10:00AM
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Fantastic and frustrating game to watch last night. A roller coaster of emotion, rage to elation and everything in between.

I have to say that, for me, the biggest difference this year compared to years past is I always feel the Oilers can bounce back or push ahead.

Part of it may be blinding optimism and homerism but I truly feel that, for the first time in awhile, this team can never be counted out. Defensive miscues and missed assignments may be too hard to overcome some nights (ie. San Jose) but the offence will always be dangerous and fun to watch.

The Oilers had a lot of fans stick by them for some dark years and I am happy to see that they can hold their heads high now.

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#59 GVBlackhawk
January 25 2013, 10:11AM
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Everyone in the city loved the celebration.

Everyone in the country loved the celebration.

David Staples ran an article this morning that was essentially a backhanded compliment -- 'the celly was okay but it is NOT okay'. Terrible article. I'm sure the only other two to hate Yak's celebration was Terry Jones and John MacKinnon. They've been trying to run him out of town since day one.

Go Nail! Don't listen to the haters.

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#60 vetinari
January 25 2013, 10:14AM
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If I had to give a game summary of last night:

'Reffing was 'effing weird and uneven (I have to check the game stats but there maybe was a "too many first rounders on the ice" call against the Oilers).

Smid's a goon now????

LA scores...

We scored! Wait, we didn't!

Fans were entitled to be mad and to chant; throwing things on the ice and at the officials was offside (boy, will those ref's remember the Oilers and hammer them next time).

Yak scores! Pandemonium! Most passionate on-ice celebration by a player in years!

Overtime, baby!

Powerplay, baby!

Gagner makes up for the called off goal in the third. More pandemonium!

LA slinks off to look at their Stanley Cup rings with fond memories of when they used to own the Oilers...

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#61 The Soup Fascist
January 25 2013, 10:15AM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

Yakupov is allowed to do that ONCE. I suspect the coach's "soccer" line will be explained that it wasn't a compliment. Though really, it's too bad there wasn't an 'interwebs' when Theo did exactly the same thing. I'm PRETTY sure Oiler fans weren't saying, "It was the moment, great celly!"

Also....

Please.

For the love of God.

Can we NOT make "Celly" a thing.

Referees were awful, moron fans were worse. Krueger was cleaning off his suit because some of the mouth-breathers paying $300/ticket thought tossing a beer would really 'say something'.

So it is safe to assume you are REALLY not going to like "top ched", "ginos", "benders" and "dusters" either?

Kudos about the beerslingers, though. Stupidest thing ever. 90% of these limp wristers can't make in on the ice anyway and end up getting the innocents in the first few rows wet. And even if they do manage to hit the ice, just as likely to hit an Oiler or the kids who have to clean up the mess. Totally classless.

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#62 916oiler
January 25 2013, 10:17AM
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Yakattackupov!

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#63 Smokey
January 25 2013, 10:18AM
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Im not the hugest fan of Yaks celebration, especially after we got shlacked the night before, and the Sharks were fairly classy, not running the Oil outta the building cause they could of. However, I appreciate the raw emotion of Yak and the boys. Guys like Hall and Nail and Schultz symbolize what we have missed, leaders who play with emotion. There aint no quit and it aint over till its over will keep things interesting this year.

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#64 Rob...
January 25 2013, 10:23AM
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Has there ever been a case of a fan of the visiting team throwing stuff on the ice after the delay of game warning, resulting in a two minute penalty to the home team? They'd have risked a massive beatdown, but some diehard Kings fan could have secured a Kings victory last night if the refs were too stupid to see through the scam, and they quite possibly were.

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#65 Impartial Oilers Fan
January 25 2013, 10:43AM
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How quickly we forget as Oilers fans! If the roles were reversed and we were defending a one goal lead, and one of our defenceman was cross checked from behind and it didn't go as a penalty, WE WOULD BE LIVID! The fact that Gagner's cross check wasn't called, made this night go from "THIS GAME WAS HORRIBLE, THE REFS COST US" to "BEST GAME EVER, I LOVE YAK!" in under a mintue.

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#66 Neal
January 25 2013, 10:53AM
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We're remembering the spectacularly bad calls but these referees made ALOT of others (Brown's dive, quick whistle on goals, etc). I can't say what they were thinking but the point is they took over the game and I didn't buy my ticket to watch referees. Somebody (Colin Campbell?) has to make the point that the game itself and the flow has to be prioritized.

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#67 Rama Lama
January 25 2013, 11:01AM
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Yea the game was crazy and the refs were lucky they did not get absolutely pelted with hot dogs!

I agree that Krueger coached a good game for the most part but not dressing a enforcer against the second largest team in the NHL is just plain STUPID.

If LA decided to play a physical game then who defends our hobbits?? Last time I checked Smid was one of our top four defenseman. He should not have the burden to play the hardest dual roles in the NHL.

Krueger is just plain lucky that LA did not run us through the boards.

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#68 Leafs_Wallace
January 25 2013, 11:09AM
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That game was fixed.

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#69 Mike76
January 25 2013, 11:28AM
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It was great.

I love how the guy operating the spotlight was able to follow him all the way down the ice.

Awesome !!!!!!

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#70 Six Rings
January 25 2013, 11:34AM
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Now if they were still running the 'One Free Beverage' deal at RX1, I'm sure we would have seen twice the amount of debris thrown on the ice. People Trying to throw 8 dollar beers from the top deck was plain embarassing, and not to mention wasting that precious crack beer!

All in all, what a rollercoaster of a game. Was it ever loud in there after Yaks goal. Wow.

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#71 Milli
January 25 2013, 12:41PM
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I LOVE THAT KID!!!!! The slide was awesome, wish I was there!

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#72 Senator Theo
January 25 2013, 12:46PM
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Yak's celly was one of the most sincere, genuine reactions I've seen in sports. Awesome.

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#73 Old Retired Guy
January 25 2013, 02:18PM
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Screw those few who are hating on YAK…..Screw Jonathan Quick…..Screw Stoll’s comments………its all competition and its all good……

Every sportscast/blog/highlight reel in the nation is talking about an event that occurred in Edmonton on a cold January night……because it was a spectacular 5 minutes of hockey!!

Trust me as someone who was in attendance when this stuff occurred more than a few times in the 80’s …….That beer that got spilled on you last night in the heat of the moment will actually be a part of what you remember many years from now……and YOU WILL LOVE IT!!!!!

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#74 Dan Tencer
January 25 2013, 12:49AM
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FISTFISTFISTFIST my celebration is better FIST

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#75 RushPhan
January 25 2013, 01:10AM
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There sure seems to be a lot of media types wanting to take a giant dump on Yakupov. The kid is 18 and I think some excitement in E-town would be a nice change after 7 yrs living in the gulag of pro hockey.

I do hope Yak uses some judgement when he scores but every Oiler recognized the energy he brings and there has been precious little to celebrate in this city for far too long.

Rishaug needs take the pole out of his *ss and quit taking himself so seriously. There would be no harm in making the odd positive comment every once in awhile.

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#76 Mark-LW
January 25 2013, 08:26AM
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book¡e wrote:

He holds it wrong too.

He can't play hockey correctly in general

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#77 John Chambers
January 25 2013, 09:16AM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Any chance we'll hear what Jonathan Quick said to Yakupov after he sent the puck into the goal a second after the whistle went earlier in this game?

It was great to see Yakupov shove it down his throat with 5 seconds left. Would have been even better to see Nail get the OT winner and rub some salt and vinegar into that wound.

Screw you, Jonathan not Quick enough!

Propped. High five!

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#78 Zamboni Driver
January 25 2013, 09:31AM
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Yakupov is allowed to do that ONCE. I suspect the coach's "soccer" line will be explained that it wasn't a compliment. Though really, it's too bad there wasn't an 'interwebs' when Theo did exactly the same thing. I'm PRETTY sure Oiler fans weren't saying, "It was the moment, great celly!"

Also....

Please.

For the love of God.

Can we NOT make "Celly" a thing.

Referees were awful, moron fans were worse. Krueger was cleaning off his suit because some of the mouth-breathers paying $300/ticket thought tossing a beer would really 'say something'.

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#79 Rogue
January 25 2013, 10:14AM
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It totally baffles me that the refs did not call delay of game!!! After all, they called every nit picking penalty all night long! Yet they let the most obvious one slide. What door knobs!!

My heart stopped briefly when Justin Schultz tried to force the puck thru 2 Kings coming at him. TG,it worked out. With a little more expierience, we will see him fake the shot and walk around them instead.

But you have to give the refs credit for bringing out the emotions of Oiler fans!

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#80 TDSM31
January 25 2013, 12:16PM
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Gregor,

I agree, Krueger did make some good decisions last night but he needs to remove Horcoff from the first PP. I realize he's out there because of the faceoff but I'd rather take the extra 10 seconds to retreive the puck from our own end after we lose a draw then to have him out there for a minute or more. He's not a big body in front and he's not strong on his stick. There were a few nice passes to him last night that he just couldn't handle (even strength and PP). We've been waiting three years for an opportunity to rid ourselves of his contract and now we have it with the new CBA rules...why are we not taking advantage?

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#81 Zamboni Driver
January 25 2013, 01:31PM
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Re: Referees.

Okay, I agree. They sucked.

HOWEVER....

They called a STAR PLAYER on the Stanley Cup Champions for too many men - in OVERTIME.

They could have easily let that one slide - wouldn't have been the worst miss of the evening.

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#82 Old Retired Guy
January 25 2013, 02:25PM
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In other highlights of the evening....the Maple Leafs of Toronto displayed a high level of truculance in 7-4 defeat at the hands of the mighty Islanders of New York....

Center of the hockey universe my A** !

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#83 Zamboni Driver
January 25 2013, 02:42PM
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@Old Retired Guy

"That beer that got spilled on you last night in the heat of the moment will actually be a part of what you remember many years from now……and YOU WILL LOVE IT!!!!!"

~ said the 8 year old girl that got doused in beer/coke/corn.

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#84 Zamboni Driver
January 25 2013, 02:42PM
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@Old Retired Guy

"That beer that got spilled on you last night in the heat of the moment will actually be a part of what you remember many years from now……and YOU WILL LOVE IT!!!!!"

~ said the 8 year old girl that got doused in beer/coke/corn.

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#85 tileguy
January 25 2013, 03:52PM
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after vreading TSn and the globe's report of the game they report the disallowed goal went to video review so it was actually Toronto waving off that goal, why no penalty for goalie interference?

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#86 blue31
January 25 2013, 03:57PM
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@Old Retired Guy

Or perhaps having someone's backwash thrown down your back and in your hair just before you head out into the sub-zero Edmonton night will be the thing that ruined a wonderful hockey event for years to come . . .

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#87 Vincent
January 25 2013, 05:25PM
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I was at the game last night with my 14 year old daughter and the very best thing about the game was the emotion. Not just from Yak but from the fans, EVEN THE BEER THROWING!!

In fact some guy behind us threw a partially empty beer cup and some beer spilled on my daughter and we both laughed about it because being a part of the emotion of that crowd was so special that it will be one of the most memorable games of both our lives (in a good way).

Watching the fans litter the ice when you're watching on tv in your living room may seem "stupid" but being there and experiencing the emotion that blew through the building during the game makes it seem like the only natural thing to do.

And I'm not talking about mob mentality. I'm talking about getting into the game the way you just can't do with a couple of your buddies at home. Emotion, whether good or bad, is contagious and in a building of 17,000 people all of that is amplified. It was quite frankly amazing!!

And let's not forget that when the fans litter the ice with caps on a hat trick as a result of their elation, it is not only acceptable but even respectful, in a hockey kind of way. So why is it when a similar yet opposite emotion compels us to litter the ice with plastic cups and water bottles it's suddenly considered disgraceful? Aren't all the emotions, both good and bad, what make this game so meaningful to us?

I understand if people have an issue with it because it's "immature" or whatever, but I was there, and although I didn't throw anything, considering (and experiencing) how much emotion the game brings out in people, the immaturity of it all just seemed "appropriate".

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#88 The Soup Fascist
January 25 2013, 06:16PM
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Vincent wrote:

I was at the game last night with my 14 year old daughter and the very best thing about the game was the emotion. Not just from Yak but from the fans, EVEN THE BEER THROWING!!

In fact some guy behind us threw a partially empty beer cup and some beer spilled on my daughter and we both laughed about it because being a part of the emotion of that crowd was so special that it will be one of the most memorable games of both our lives (in a good way).

Watching the fans litter the ice when you're watching on tv in your living room may seem "stupid" but being there and experiencing the emotion that blew through the building during the game makes it seem like the only natural thing to do.

And I'm not talking about mob mentality. I'm talking about getting into the game the way you just can't do with a couple of your buddies at home. Emotion, whether good or bad, is contagious and in a building of 17,000 people all of that is amplified. It was quite frankly amazing!!

And let's not forget that when the fans litter the ice with caps on a hat trick as a result of their elation, it is not only acceptable but even respectful, in a hockey kind of way. So why is it when a similar yet opposite emotion compels us to litter the ice with plastic cups and water bottles it's suddenly considered disgraceful? Aren't all the emotions, both good and bad, what make this game so meaningful to us?

I understand if people have an issue with it because it's "immature" or whatever, but I was there, and although I didn't throw anything, considering (and experiencing) how much emotion the game brings out in people, the immaturity of it all just seemed "appropriate".

You are welcome to your opinion but I was there and was embarrassed by the littering on the ice. Boo, yell, rant .... Whatever but throwing projectiles is never acceptable IMO.

You mention your daughter. What if she was one of the young people charged with cleaning the ice? I realize that most objects thrown may not hurt people, but if beer glasses and soda cups are Ok, how long before some moron thinks the Oakland Raider fans are onto something and starts packing batteries?

I admire your understanding and patience but if some drunken dolt dumps beer on my daughter, we are going to have a discussion. You are a better man than me.

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#89 Slats
January 25 2013, 07:52PM
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Yak is the NHL's young Sergio Garcia. . .

I think he is a genuine and expressive young man and he just let it go on a great play. Just like Sergio did in famous run, jump, and scissor kick at Medinah. It was not premeditated - it was just joy. How did we react when Sergio did it? With disgust? No - he was admired for being human.

We saw this early, and still occasionally, with Ovechkin.

He's a kid let's not forget.

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#90 Robbie
January 26 2013, 04:21PM
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@blue31

WHEEEEEEUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU.

p.s keep staying home

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