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Your Call: Did Yakupov's celebration go too far?

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TSN.ca Staff
1/25/2013 8:23:02 PM
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On Thursday night, Edmonton Oilers rookie forward Nail Yakupov scored the game-tying goal against the Los Angeles Kings with 4.7 seconds left in regulation, forcing the game to go to overtime where Sam Gagner eventually scored the winner.

While the goal itself was dramatic, so too was the celebration of Yakupov, who skated away from his teammates and fell to his knees at the Kings blueline and slid all the way past the Oilers blueline.

The celebration greatly resembled one that also took place on the ice in Edmonton, the famous overtime goal scored by Calgary Flames forward Theoren Fleury in Game 6 of the Smythe Division semifinal on April 14, 1991.

"Hey everyone thanks 4 remembering me tonight," Fleury wrote on his Twitter page @TheoFleury14 after the goal was scored. "Great celly by Yak! Just got 150 tweets after the goal. Love the raw emotion of scoring big G."

There's no doubt that the goal was a big one for the Oilers - especially after having what they thought was the game-tying goal waved off a minute earlier - but was the celebration by the rookie too much?

After the game, Sam Gagner came to the defence of his teammate. "It's unbelievable the passion he plays with, the excitement," he said. "It's obvious it gets his teammates going, and the fans going. I think it's great."

Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini spoke to ESPN.com on Friday with his own thoughts on Yakupov's celebration.

"First of all, he loves hockey. We can't get him out of the dressing room, he's there the whole day," said Tambellini. "I think he's always been that player that when he's excited, he has a tough time controlling his emotions because he's so happy. You don't want to take a personality away from a player, that's who he is.

"The most important thing, if you listened to Gagner talk about it, how much passion and emotion Nail brings into the dressing room to play the game," said Tambellini. "It's more important that his teammates are accepting of Nail."

TSN analyst and three-time Stanley Cup-winning defenceman Aaron Ward also had no issues with Yakupov's reaction. "There should be no one that has a problem with this," Ward said on the NHL on TSN on Thursday night. "It was genuine, in the moment, it was a big goal and the second of his career."

But the visiting Kings didn't take kindly to Yakupov's post-goal antics. "I won't even say anything about that, it wasn't something that was looked on in a positive light in our dressing room, but so be it," forward Jarret Stoll said after the game. "He made a great play on the goal and did his celebration."

The game in Edmonton was an emotional one, but did Yakupov cross a line or an unwritten rule for excessive celebration on a tying goal in a regular season game?

We want to know where you stand. As always, it's Your Call!

Nail Yakupov (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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