It's not often the Edmonton Oilers give me cause to be happy. Sure, they win some games (not many) but those are just oases in a desert of mediocrity. Only the smallest handful over the past few seasons stand out in a good way; Sam Gagner's eight-point game, Jordan Eberle's debut... um, Sam Gagner's eight-point game... other than that it's a collection of "Mathieu Garon stopped 31 of 32 and Ryan Jones knocked one in with his ass in a 2-1 Oilers win before ninety-six rabid Phoenix Coyotes fans."
As far as I'm concerned that sums up the Edmonton Oilers fan experience over the last six years perfectly. There have been moments that bring you out of your seat, ones that are worth remembering, but they are few and far between and are more often than not surrounded by entire games you'd just rather forget.
This is actually something people tend to focus one when they ask me why I would choose to go to as many games as I do. I could take the easy route and simply tell then that I'm just nuts. That might do the trick but I feel like they're looking for a little more from me. So I usually compare the fan experience to golf. I'm not a particularly good golfer and of the 105-ish shots I take in a given round only a couple are worth remembering. But it's those two or three shots that I talk about after and are they're reason I keep coming back. Being an Oilers fan has been a similar experience for the last half dozen years.
Nail Yakupov's goal last night and the celebration that followed is absolutely one of the moments that will be remembered and it's why I watched it repeatedly last night when I got home and then some more this morning. Somewhere around viewing number 34 I got to thinking: Where does this goal rank among some of the other more memorable moments that have taken place at Rexall in recent seasons? Here are a few of the contenders that come to mind:
Ales Hemsky's last minute tying goal against Dallas from January 2007.
Or Jordan Eberle's short handed beauty against Calgary to kick off the 2010 season.
The crowd was cheering for Linus Omark before he even got to the puck for this shootout attempt in his first game with the Oilers.
That season also included Taylor Hall's three goal third period against the Atlanta Thrashers.
And who could forget Sam Gagner's eight point night?
Each one of those is special in it's own way and Yakupov's belongs right near the top of the list. For my money Gagner's night was the best just because the excitement kept building in a way I've never experienced before and might never again. Which was your favourite?