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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#1 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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#2 I'm Batman
January 25 2013, 12:46AM
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I was FIST pumping hard after that one. Wow what an ending!

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#3 plikestechno
January 25 2013, 12:47AM
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Oilers are lucky they didn't get a penalty because of some stupid fans. Yell and boo as loud as you want but don't throw stuff. Penalty probably would have lost us the game.

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#4 OilersRidersChargers
January 25 2013, 12:47AM
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What a way to rescue all of our sanity. Notice Ebs was on the other side of the net, with Hall in the slot - murderer's row of snipers - but Yak got the lucky bounce and made it happen. Yak goal - Eberle timing!

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#5 RJSOILER69
January 25 2013, 12:47AM
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Holy Frustrations Batman!!!! That was fun! Game on.... Cant wait to play the Flamers Saturday!

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#6 MarcusBillius
January 25 2013, 12:48AM
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Every team so far has had a really bad game.

I'm being over-generous here because the hockey gods were on the Oilers side, but maybe we can let the refs have a bad game.

And also contact the NHL and make sure those calls are never made again.

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#7 Love Monkey
January 25 2013, 12:48AM
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That was fun tonight. I can't stop watching the goal and celly even though I saw it live.

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#8 speeds
January 25 2013, 12:49AM
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Hall has 3 points in 3 games, is +3, and I agree, it kind of seems like things aren't going his way yet.

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

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#10 MarcusBillius
January 25 2013, 12:52AM
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speeds wrote:

Hall has 3 points in 3 games, is +3, and I agree, it kind of seems like things aren't going his way yet.

Yeah, it didn't seem like he had great luck around the net tonight, despite creating tremendous chances and having a few himself.

But as I look back at the last two years, he's never really had the Stamkos/Crosby/Malkin ability to finish plays.

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#11 Time Travelling Sean
January 25 2013, 12:58AM
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Hall needs a shorter stick, it's kinda hard to score when every shot is like a golf swing.

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#12 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
January 25 2013, 12:59AM
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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!

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#13 The Soup Fascist
January 25 2013, 01:04AM
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Jared Stoll on Sportscenter indicated that the King's dressing room did not appreciate Yak's celly.

Tell you what Jared, the Great One probably isn't too keen you couldn't keep your grub mitts off of his daughter either - allegedly.

Word of warning to both of you: it will probably happen again. Learn to live with the disappointment.

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#14 One cold Canadian
January 25 2013, 01:04AM
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Mr Fistric, Good game tonight. Welcome (home) to a hockey mad city.

Your next mission, should you chose to accept it, is the (godless) Flames.

Stand up #12 a few times and the minstrels will compose a sonet.

Put him on his ass...and be a ROCK STAR.

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#15 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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#16 Time Travelling Sean
January 25 2013, 01:14AM
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Who cares what they think? He scored a huge goal, he didn't cave when the refs clearly decided to try and be Gods. The puck doesn't lie, idiot refs.

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#17 RomZ
January 25 2013, 01:19AM
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Best game I've ever been to!

Such a roller coaster ride of emotion at the arena

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#18 I'm Batman
January 25 2013, 01:32AM
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RushPhan wrote:

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.

Rishaug tweeted that he didn't have a problem with the celly. That it was appropriate given the situation.

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#19 Cheap Shot Charlie
January 25 2013, 01:40AM
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@RushPhan

I fully agree. Yak needed to celebrate like that in this instance and the fans needed to see it. It was the biggest goal of his NHL career, so far. He'll settle it down as he scores more.

P.s. FU refs!

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#20 KLamb
January 25 2013, 01:49AM
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You know, I agree that throwing things is stupid, and I the trowing of beer cups is beyond belligerent, however, that break it caused by the clean up gave Kruger and the Oilers a 2nd timeout. It was stupid but at least, in this instance anyway, it was incredibly beneficial.

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#21 Jamie B.
January 25 2013, 02:03AM
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Hall deserves HUGE credit for stopping Mike Richards from getting the empty netter, and for jumping on the puck when it was blocked and throwing it on net to create the rebound Yak batted in. Nice attention to details, good sign.

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#22 Robbie
January 25 2013, 03:15AM
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Jason gregor just so you know throwing debris on the ice was ABSOLUTELY the thing to do. I loved every second of it. Those clowns that wore referee outfits tonight were an embarrassment to the sport of hockey and the NHL and the only thing we did wrong is not hit them with the debris. But trust me, most of us tried. Other than that huge win and i love the heart yak has. and have nothing wrong with his celebration. For everyone giving him a hard time. He's 18 years old from a different country playing in front of over 16 000 fans that are screaming as loud as they can and he scores a clutch goal like that and shows how much emotion he brings to the game he loves. I respect that. But i don't respect those over paid zebras.

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#23 Hemmertime
January 25 2013, 03:40AM
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The kids celebration was awesome, he was completely in the moment. I'm sure plenty of fans were going insane all over the city.

Yak has one of those "career highlight" clips only 3 games into his career. Sponsors are gonna love him lol

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#24 @Oilanderp
January 25 2013, 04:29AM
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Justice.

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#25 Goonar
January 25 2013, 06:05AM
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I have only one problem with Yak's celebration; he's setting the bar too high. I mean, if last night's goal got a 100 foot slide, what will he have left for the Stanley Cup clinching o/t winner?

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#26 Pharmboy
January 25 2013, 06:34AM
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EPIC NAIL! Just an epic goal and celebration. This kid cares. Epic fail for the refs. I haven't stood on my couch and yelled at the screen in a long time. ALL HAIL NAIL!

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#27 dmac
January 25 2013, 07:07AM
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That was the worst oficiating I have seen in a long time. Were those clowns from the World Juniors or the Spenglar Cup? The league should be embarrased. Don't get me wrong they screwed both teams. So really they just screwed the game.

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#28 RyanCoke
January 25 2013, 07:14AM
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Biggest gong show ever, for a game that had so many stupid penalties, they didn't know how to call a normal penalty. There were at least 3 uncalled penalties that no one would have complained about. Don't know how they can possibly disallow 3 goals in the same game and not be able to get a video review on any of them, this game should have been 3-2 final for the oilers.

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#29 Spydyr
January 25 2013, 07:28AM
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If the Kings didn't like Yak's celebration.They are free to try to stop him next time.

It was refreshing to see that kind of enthusiasm.After robot Renney last year.It is also nice to see the players standing up for each other.Since the Renney no fight shackles have been lifted.

With the team fighting through all the adversity (re:the refs) to win.Along with the OT win In Van city the team appears to be learning how to win the one goal games.That will go a long way to making the playoffs.

This was a game for the ages.It could be the TSN turning point on ending the years of losing.

I sure hope so,

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#30 book¡e
January 25 2013, 07:39AM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

Hall needs a shorter stick, it's kinda hard to score when every shot is like a golf swing.

He holds it wrong too.

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#31 Petridis
January 25 2013, 07:49AM
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@RushPhan

I agree let the lid go and keep the energy alive. Our look at "Did we pick the right guy" is looking like a big YES. I like what I have seen so far with his speed and hockey sense and no fear of shooting the puck. Did anyone see how excited the older oilers were pumped up? I did and loved it as well.

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#32 GordL
January 25 2013, 08:14AM
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Most people don't realize this, but Russians are usually 0% or 100%. Ask a Russian how they are and they're either near death, or on top of the world. You'll rarely get a "meh" answer, and I think this reflects in Yak's celebration. He isn't doing it to be an *ss, he's just showing his emotion at that moment like most Russians do.

Did anyone else notice how horrible Stoll was at taking draws last night? I saw Smyth beat him twice, and Belanger beat him to tie the game. It was a nice change :D

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#33 roger
January 25 2013, 08:18AM
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sheeeet if i was at the game i would have been throwing everything i could get my hands on as well, piss poor officiating. but in the end what a game i laughed i cried i yelled at my television, went to bed ramped up. come on saturday and the flames.

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#34 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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#35 Cleatus
January 25 2013, 08:35AM
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@Robbie

Gregor's right, throwing things on the ice does nothing, and the Oilers should have got a penalty for stupid fans like Robbie. I love the Oil as much as any person in Alberta, but its hard to defend low brow thinking like this. Thinking that throwing pop bottles and beer onto the ice is going to do anything is like equivalent to the small group of numbnuts that started the riots in Vancouver. Its selfish

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#36 longbottom/P.Biglow
January 25 2013, 08:39AM
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Loved the Yak cellebration. The NHL needs more passion and less robots(Stoll and Richards). The garbage on the ice? Given the passion and hate toward the refs at the moment, it is what it is. One last point, this year the Oilers have won 2 games they would have lost the last 3-5 years and taken the thought of it was a good loss. Losing isn't being tolerated this year from the looks of it, good on ya Oilers great game.

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#37 Clyde Frog
January 25 2013, 08:56AM
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If you don't want Yakupov to celebrate his goal, make the save.

Simple.

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#38 Oilcruzer
January 25 2013, 09:02AM
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That instigating with a visor penalty is DUMB DUMB DUMB.

How do you get around it?

Smid wasn't trying to instigate and they agreed to fight... it was mutual... but if he takes his helmet off first then of COURSE he'll get an instigation penalty.

---

16,500 fans paid to see four officials and a hockey game got in the way.

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#39 Oiler Al
January 25 2013, 09:11AM
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Most emotional game I have watched since perhaps the 2006 SC run.I liked the character of the team, especially in view of the number[mostly dumb] penalties called. J.G. your pointed highlites pretty much covers it all.Also kudo's to Smid for dropping the gloves and looking after business.[ Wheres Hordichuck when you need him ]

One thing for sure, Kruger can cancel the PK and PP practice today!, done it all night long last night.

Bring on the Flames. PS> Sit Petrel and dress Hordichuck for this one,

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#40 michael
January 25 2013, 09:15AM
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I'll take the garbage throwing. The sceaming and chanting at the Refs for a blown call or 8. I'll take that "passion' every day of the week and then some. We have been accused of being to pedestrian at times here in Edmonton, Yak gave us a reason to celebrate last night. after the 6-1 drubbing we took the other night in the first period we turn it around and win last nights game.Somehow. We would have lost that game last year.The year before that.And the year before that.

We deserve.No we are entitled to vent our emotions.We have suffered so much at the butt end of the stick that last nights outburst by the fans at Rexall confirms for me the passion that we feel for the Oilers is still there. Its been a while since we could feel that way. It is almost cathartic to have a win like we had last night.

Let the naysayers and pundits cry foul. Yak scored a goal for the Oilers last night that may well define this season. Never give up. With Yaks youthful enthusiasm added to an already boiling emotional pot we will see what we have not seen in 2 decades. Players having fun.Paying the price for each other. Balls to the wall firewagon hockey. Never give up. Play to the last second. Its been a while. I have been waiting for this for a lonnnnng time.The horses are out of the barn. Let em run.

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#41 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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#42 2004Z06
January 25 2013, 09:20AM
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Great emotional win last night considering the officiating. Fortunately there were brutal calls on both sides. As for littering the ice....If the Oilers were penalized for delay of game and the Kings scored/won, what would Robbie be saying then?

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#43 Jay H
January 25 2013, 09:22AM
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All I can say is: it's a good thing Nail scored...if he hadn't, I expect there would've been a dangerous reaction to the officials for stealing the game from the already enraged fans. That wasn't a reaction of a just the single blown call, but the entire debacle of a 'hockey' game.

As far as I'm concerned, the NHL is making a huge mistake with these 'new' rules and horrendously weak parades to the penalty box. Until the final minute, last night's game was brutal, with no flow whatsoever. Not the way to win back fans in my opinion. Luckily for us we have players like Yakupov and a celebration like that (which was perfect, considering the circumstances), and everyone goes home happy despite the best efforts of the striped crew...

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#44 David
January 25 2013, 09:24AM
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For surem next time folks throw drinks etc on the ice there will be a penalty called. You don't throw the drinks unless the game is out of reach.

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#45 Mikey
January 25 2013, 09:25AM
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A couple of observations.

MPS played very well. Harti might get sent down when jones gets back. Not that he has played poorly.

Nice save by Hall to keep it 1-0.

Fistric brings a nice added element. He rubs people the wrong way and battles hard, which led to drawing 3 penalties.

One thing about the PP, it seems they just want to make pretty passes and not get shots to the net. Granted they have a smaller team which makes it difficult to battle in front of the net and the fact they wiffed on a few back door passes. Would be nice if they had someone on the point with a rocket of a slap shot.

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#46 Ryan2
January 25 2013, 09:27AM
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Karma was at work last night:

1) Quick yaps at Yak after the brutal quick whistle nullifies a goal, Yak ties it up with seconds to go.

2) Richards blocked by Hall then dogs it to the bench in OT resulting in the cheap too many men penalty.

3) Bad call taking away Gagner's goal and then he scores the OT winner.

In any case, both teams have plenty to complain about the reffing. That was one of the worst games I have ever seen in the past 30 years of watching hockey.

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#47 French Toast Mafia
January 25 2013, 09:30AM
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MarcusBillius wrote:

Yeah, it didn't seem like he had great luck around the net tonight, despite creating tremendous chances and having a few himself.

But as I look back at the last two years, he's never really had the Stamkos/Crosby/Malkin ability to finish plays.

Might be good to remember that Crosby didn't develop super elite finishing skills until his 5th year in the league. I remember a few interviews and acticles where he had said that he needed to shoot more and work on burying his chances when they were there. That year he scored 50 and changed the curve on his stick. I think we will see something similar with Hall, more will end up in the back of the net.

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#48 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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#49 blue31
January 25 2013, 09:31AM
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@Robbie

Idiot fans like you are why I've stopped going to games. Any "fan" caught throwing things needs an immediate lifetime ban from the arena, with forfeiture of season tickets. Period.

The gentlemen running the score clock and penalty box did not deserve the indignity of being soaked by your beer. Stay classy.

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#50 Ducey
January 25 2013, 09:32AM
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The thing that drives me nuts is that at beginning of every season the NHL officials crack down on every little ticky tack infraction. Then, near the end of the season and into they playoffs they don't call anything.

How in the world does it make any sense to call two different games and in effect have two sets of rules depending upon the time of the season? Its a farce.

The disparity has been particularly bad the last few years. The Director of Officiating should be canned.

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