Nail Yakupov had no idea his celebration Thursday mirrored Theo Fleury's infamous slide in the same building after scoring the winning goal in Game 6 of the 1991 Stanley Cup final. (PERRY NELSON/QMI Agency)
EDMONTON - It was spontaneous combustion. It was at the same time the spectacular liftoff of the new Russian Rocket and simultaneous launching of a crazy, kooky coast-to-coast controversy.
It was the crystallization and complete captivation of the joy of hockey when Nail Yakupov, without knowing it, did exactly the same thing in the same arena that Theo Fleury of the Calgary Flames did when he scored the winner in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final of 1991 and slid into hockey history with his exuberant celebration.
At the same second Yakupov became a rock star to a significant percentage of the populace, however, he apparently became a pariah to the rest of it.
With 4.7 seconds left in regulation Yakupov’s game-trying goal against the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings blew the roof off Rexall Place.
But by the next morning, the goal wasn’t the story in the nation where the game makes our blood boil, Yakupov’s celebration of the goal had the water coolers gurgling. Ov