They say there is always a witness to history and last night there was 16,000 and change in attendance and billions more watching on TV that saw history go down. It was one of those times that sort of jump kicks you right in the face with its magnitude and it takes awhile for what you saw to sink in.
The goal itself last night was mind shattering and will be dissected to death by those in the know about these things. But it was the context of the goal that really made it something of absolute legend. The game had been largely brutal until that point – one nill and rather dull. The refs were out to lunch awarding powerplays as though they were getting bonuses for the most obscure calls they could make.
"No one has called a visor instigator penalty in three years!" one ref was heard remarking at a TV time out.
"Betcha I can call one in the next 10 minutes" came the reply.
Then the Nuge goal gets called back. An absolutely embarassing call for all involved and we saw Rexall Place start to come unglued like we can rarely recall. Garbage was raining down, the glass was being shaken back and forth and the loudest chant of "BULLSHIT" we have ever heard rained down too.
It looked like another glum winter night in Edmonton until the youngest* newest** bestest*** Oiler decided to take matters into his own hands and bat that little round devil disk out of the air and right into the twine.
THE LEGEND OF YAK CITY RISES
We have had the good fortune to see some incredible Oilers goals in our day. Pronger scoring off the draw with no time left on the clock. 1,246,429 heart stopping moments during the 06 Cup Run. Jordan Eberle scoring the goal that launched a million SQUEEEEEEEs to name just a few. But with all due respect to the other goals and our dear sweet Jordan, we have NEVER seen a celly like the Yakupov one last night.
There may be some people out there who are freaking out about the celebration but they can all go pound sand. We witnessed Rexall Place connect with an Oiler player on a level we haven’t seen since a certain number 14 scored a certain toe draggian dandy on opening night against some forgettable team down Highway 2.
The emotion of the evening, the blown call, the lingering frustration with the lockout. It all melted away as 64 slid blue line to blue line with all of the OilersNation around the world sliding in spirit with him. And at the end of the game there he was on the ice celebrating the win – helicoptering his stick in salute to the fans unlike anything we have ever seen.
You could see the emotion on his face on he sat on the bench and the goal was announced. The combination of his 64 billion dollar grin and the crowd losing its collective mind was something to behold. Here is an honest to goodness superstar in the making on a team now counting a handful of similar super studs. Playing in a City that has wanted nothing more for almost 30 years.
The NHL has built the walls between the fans and the players so high that many fairweather fans have checked out. As a result many buildings in the league will find themselves half full with mildly bored players playing before mostly bored suit types until the emotion comes back – if it ever does.
Contrast that scenario with Yakupov scoring THAT goal in front of THAT crowd here in Edmonton.
A hero was born last night.
You may think we have been smitten by the new Russian Hearthrob and have forgotten who we came to the dance with. May we then present for your consideration this picture of Jordan Eberle with a puppy.
Could 2013 BE any better?
* We think
** Not counting trades
*** Except Eberle and the Nuge naturally
Big props to our dubstep lovin homie dabears on twitter for the Yak City lyrics pic.
If you would like to watch Yakupoving on an infinite loop please click here.