YAK CITY

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.
  • Quicksilver ballet

    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?

  • Zamboni Driver

    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.

  • Zamboni Driver

    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!!!!!

    • Zamboni Driver

      “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.

    • Zamboni Driver

      “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.

  • Zamboni Driver

    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** !

  • Zamboni Driver

    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?

  • Zamboni Driver

    @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 . . .

  • Vincent

    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”.

    • The Soup Fascist

      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.

  • The Soup Fascist

    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.