Alex Ovechkin famously pulled off the “hot stick” celebration after netting his 50th goal of the season back in 2009, but Washington Capitals teammate Evgeny Kuznetsov may have pulled off an even more memorable celebration during World Cup of Hockey action.
During Monday’s game against Team North America, Kuznetsov scored arguably the nicest goal of the entire competition thus far. With the two sides playing 4-on-4, Kuznetsov swung back into the Russian end, scooped up the puck and broke up ice with speed. First, Kuznetsov worked his way past Connor McDavid and once into the North American zone, the Capitals star sped to the outside on Morgan Rielly, moved the puck forehand by quickly slipping it under Rielly’s stick and then fired a shot that fooled Matt Murray.
After all that, though, Kuznetsov got a little strange with his celebration, which was as bizarre as the goal was nice. Watch him coast on one leg and flap his arms like a bird:
The goal doesn’t require much more explanation, but the celebration, well, the inspiration for it could use some clarification, and it turns out Kuznetsov has a simple enough answer: if you’ve played EA Sports’ FIFA video game series, you know exactly what he’s doing. As it turns out, that explanation works.
For fans of the series, the goal celebration will look incredibly familiar because you’ve almost certainly seen it pulled off. It’s the “Bird Walk,” and it’s one of the celebratory moves the game offers post-goal. It must be Kuznetsov’s go-to, too, because he didn’t even hesitate to start flapping his arms.
It’s hard to imagine Kuznetsov will bust out the celebration during the regular season, but at least he can enjoy pulling off what the World Cup of Hockey Twitter account called the “celly of the tournament.”
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