Ranking the 15 Best Goal Celebrations in NHL History
The purists say to "Act like you've been there before", but it is hard to find fault with the enthusiasm of a goal scorer.
To reach the highest level in your chosen profession allows for some moments of emotional release. Certainly the personality of some players comes out a lot more than it does in others, but the desire to have fun should never be held against some one.
I'm all for sportsmanship and believe that showing up an opponent invites consequences. There isn't another sport out there that allows for that type of retribution than hockey.
For every player, coach, expert or fan that says celebrations have no place in hockey, I would like to remind them that it is only a game.
Certain situations provide different levels of emotion. It is fair to assume that toiling through a long regular season or an additional 20 minutes of overtime might bring about an eruption of happiness when a game is won.
A series-clinching goal deserves exaltation and celebration. Bringing your team within four goals with less than a minute to go probably shouldn't warrant a similar reaction.
The following goals feature my top 15 NHL goal celebrations of all time. Of course the celebration of goals is a more recent phenomenon, so don't look for Eddie Shore or any old-time hockey heroes.
Feel free to add any suggestions and, of course, enjoy!
Sure, it isn't an NHL goal, but it is a hell of a celebration on a filthy dangle.
Just a reminder to all you bantam spark plugs, crashing into the glass isn't for everyone.
Honorable Mention: Andrew Ference
Andrew Ference doesn't score a lot of goals, but when he does, he makes the most of it.
By giving the Montreal crowd a single-finger salute, Ference reciprocated the love bestowed upon the Bruins from Les Habitants faithful.
15. Pavel Bure
The Russian Rocket, Pavel Bure broke plenty of hearts in Calgary back in 1994 with this double-overtime winner.
His "garage sale" celebration of tossing stick and gloves into the air is a classic.
14. Steve Yzerman
Detroit had the best record in the NHL back in 1996 but were pushed to the seventh game in the conference semifinals by the St. Louis Blues.
Steve Yzerman's double-overtime, game-winning goal brought about unbridled elation, as Detroit looked to avoid another early playoff exit.
13. Darius Kasparaitis
Of all the offensive talent on the Pittsburgh Penguins' roster, it took their hard-hitting defenseman, Darius Kasparaitis, to bury the game winner against the Buffalo Sabres and Dominik Hasek.
The Penguin defenseman celebrated by sliding on his belly at center ice, causing a chain reaction of flopping Penguins.
12. Sean Avery
It sure is easy to hate Sean Avery, and when he scores against you, this is probably the last thing you want to see.
Give the guy credit for making the most of his opportunity in the spotlight, though.
11. Nail Yakupov
Uptight traditionalists hate what rookie Nail Yakupov did last week against the Los Angeles Kings.
Consider, though, that it was the game-tying goal against the defending Stanley Cup champions with less than five seconds left in the home opener.
Oh, and it was also Yakupov's first NHL goal in front of the home fans. I'll give him a pass on this one.
10. Wayne Gretzky
It was kind of anti-climatic because we all knew that Gretzky would break Gordie Howe's NHL goal-scoring record. The Los Angeles Kings were trying to keep from finishing in last place, so all anyone really cared about was being there to witness history.
If you predicted Marty McSorley would assist on the record-breaking goal, however, then I'm going to need the Powerball numbers for this Saturday night's drawing.
9. Alexander Ovechkin
Don't you miss the days when Alex Ovechkin used to piss Don Cherry off with his over-the-top goal celebrations? It was Alex's 50th goal, so his celebration should be equally significant.
Quite frankly, I would just be happy to see Ovechkin start scoring again.
I'll take whatever celebration he has in store; just start doing something. Anything.
8. Patrick Kane
Patrick Kane looked like he had convinced everyone that he had just won the Stanley Cup.
Turns out, he actually did.
After replay confirmed that Kane did score from an obscene angle, the Blackhawks got to celebrate their curse-breaking Stanley Cup win for the second time.
7. Milan Hejduk
Milan Hejduk is usually a cool customer on the ice who keeps his emotions in check.
This was a filthy move by Hejduk to net the overtime winner, but his best move was the frontward dive onto the ice and then swimming towards the other end.
6. Artem Anisimov
As I've mentioned, goal celebrations aren't for everyone, and if you show up an opponent, it can bite you.
Artem Anisimov did just that after scoring against the Tampa Bay Lightning. He cocked his stick like a sniper rifle and pretended to fire on the Tampa net.
The Lightning didn't take too kindly to the gesture and made sure they let the young New York winger know this.
5. Teemu Selanne
One of the most original and creative celebrations that I have ever seen.
Teemu Selanne broke Mike Bossy's rookie goal-scoring record of 53 and then some, banging 76 pucks into the twine. Whipping his glove into the air and pretending to gun it down is an all-time great.
4. P.K. Subban
Montreal just signed their prized defenseman, P.K. Subban, to a contract extension so that he could light the lamp for Montreal this year.
His celebrations are high energy and original. After netting an overtime winner, Subban brings goaltender Carey Price into the celebration.
3. Theo Fleury
Who cares if the Calgary Flames lost Game 7 after Theo Fleury's dramatic Game 6 winner and full ice slide into the boards?
This might be the most famous goal celebration in the history of the NHL or at least the most hyped.
Props to Fleury for capturing the emotion of the Stanley Cup playoffs and being original.
2. Dave "Tiger" Williams
Perhaps the most original celebration came from one of the most annoying players in NHL history.
Dave "Tiger" Williams made the stick-riding celebration famous. Often imitated but never duplicated, Tiger Williams retired as the NHL's all-time leader in penalty minutes.
However, his goal celebration might have been his greatest contribution to hockey.
1. Bobby Orr
If Theo Fleury's dramatic ice slide is the most replayed goal celebration, Bobby Orr's goal and dive are known in some circles simply as "The Goal".
Given that the play and celebration won the Stanley Cup, Bobby Orr takes the top spot for the best goal celebration in NHL history.