This past Thursday night, we witnessed the re-emergence of Edmonton Oiler hockey.
For hockey fans around the world, it was a moment that won’t be forgotten as the young season carries on.
The number one pick of the 2012 NHL draft, Nail Yakupov, made his mark in Oil-town with an incredible goal and unexpected celebration to lift the spirits of an entire city.
Down 1-0 to the Los Angeles Kings, it appeared the Oilers had tied the game with 1:05 left thanks to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, but after video review the goal was taken away because Sam Gagner was in the crease. This is one of those judgment calls in the NHL that always seems to leave one team feeling cheated. Gagner was in the crease, but it certainly looked like he was pushed in by Rob Scuderi of the Kings.
Oilers fans showed their displeasure with a storm of debris from the stands onto the ice. It was a moment captured by the twitter-sphere and this controversial call was almost the next great debate.
Fortunately for the league, Yakupov kept the debate at bay when he batted a loose puck into the net with just 4.7 seconds left. The stadium erupted, but it was what took place after the goal which will replay on NHL highlights and commercials for the rest of the year.
Yakupov skated toward center ice and slid on his knees down the center of the rink as his line mates followed him for the ride. Take a look here:
It was a scene which brought joy to a storied franchise that has lost its winning ways over the past few years. A team that just had their third consecutive number one overall draft pick was coming into this season as a possible playoff surprise.
The offense of the Oilers will one day be a dominant force in the league, but that appears to be a couple more seasons away. Still, it was this moment that forces everyone to recognize a team and fan base that is patiently waiting to take over the hockey headlines once again.
The Oilers fittingly won in overtime, making Yakupov’s moment that much more special for not only the team, or their fans, but the league as a whole. The league needs season defining moments like these to help erase the pain of an 113 day lockout, which fans are slowly starting. The Oilers are hungry for a return to the top of the West and on this night showed they are closer than many think.
The puck’s been dropped, hockey’s back, and for that I tell all hockey fans to enjoy the rest of the 2012-13 season.