In early November, Ryan Reaves became Elite Goal Scorer Ryan Reaves. By November 3, he had scored his fourth goal of the season against the Carolina Hurricanes — a pretty big deal considering his career high is seven.
Nevertheless, he was disappointed.
“I’d like to apologize to the Vegas fans for that trash celebration, though,” he said in the locker room after the game. “I’ll do better. Just not a lot of enthusiasm. I think I’m running out of cellies.”
The art of the hockey goal celebration (or celly, as they’re fondly called) is hard to perfect. Players already have to maneuver sideways, forwards and backwards on ice skates. Now players have to do a little dance to celebrate the fact that they do it well enough to get a puck in the net? Still, we remember our favorite players’ scoring moments not just by the play, but by the celly. It’s where hockey has the capacity to have a personality.
To celebrate these cellies, we’re taking a look at every goal scorer on the Vegas Golden Knights this season and seeing who does it the best. There are highs, lows and all kinds of fun in between.
Before we begin, a quick disclaimer: Some of the players haven’t scored goals yet this season. They won’t be ranked. Additionally, Tomas Hyka is the Golden Knight’s only goal scorer this season that won’t be on this list. Finding a GIF of his goal that shows his reaction proved difficult to find. It’s a loss for us, but a small one. We’re sure he had a blast!
Let’s kick off the rankings from the bottom.
16. Cody Eakin, refusing to have any sort of fun
Eakin is having a hell of a season so far. With 10 goals under his belt, he’s well on his way to having his most successful year in the NHL.
You would never know it, though, because his celebrations are the most blasé display of victory to ever be witnessed.
Seriously, what is this man doing? He scores a goal, holds up his stick, and just... deadpans his teammates? Not even a little “yeah”?! He doesn’t even crack a smile. On an emotive scale, Eakin is as happy to be at work as Squidward is at the Krusty Krab. Let those feelings go, Eakin! You’re thriving! You can let yourself live a little.
15. William Karlsson, also lacking enthusiasm
Does anyone know how William Karlsson earned the nickname Wild Bill? He’s one of the most reserved celebrators on the ice.
The above example, his first goal of the season, isn’t necessarily as bad as it looks. Like Eakin, he raises a limp arm and doesn’t crack a smile, but he does skate into the arms of his linemates. It’s typical to see a little more excitement from Karlsson, so we’ll let this one slide, but not by much.
11/12/13/14. Brad Hunt, Erik Haula, Tomas Nosek, and Nick Holden, raising not one, but two arms
Brad Hunt has scored two goals since the season began, and he celebrated the same both times. The hands go up... and they stay there.
It turns out, Erik Haula has done the exact same thing.
So has Tomas Nosek.
Aaaaaand so has Nick Holden.
When four of your players celebrate their goals the same way, maybe it’s time to go back to the drawing board. There really isn’t much to this celly. It sits close to the bottom for good reason. It’s reliable, but boring.
10. Daniel Carr, raising two arms 2.0
Fresh from the AHL, Daniel Carr was the first to score against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. How exciting!
Carr goes with the classic arm raise celly, but adds some flair by having his arms circle outward to meet each other up top. His teammates just stick ‘em up there with no pizazz. It’s nothing special, but it’s a little more special than the rest.
9. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, quietly flipping his stick
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare plays between Ryan Reaves and William Carrier, who he lovingly calls his “wrecking balls.” He’s not slamming his opponents into the glass or towering over them. He’s a smooth operator, and his subtle goal celebration reflects that.
This is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it celly. One could argue it’s not even a celly, but we think it counts because Bellemare is clearly reacting to what he sees in front of him — a puck in the net. He simply sticks his stick out and flips it around. It has an admirable sort of slickness to it. Not memorable, but nice to watch in the moment.
8. Colin Miller, basically doing the exact same thing Alex Tuch does, but a little worse
Colin Miller should be happy with the two goals he scored in the past week. It seems as though, like some of his fellow teammates, he’s exiting a slump. He deserves a good goal celebration.
But there is something suspiciously familiar about Miller’s celly... If you scroll down to No. 3 on this list, you see none other than Alex Tuch doing the exact same movement.
Tuch may not be the only one to kneel down and do a slingshot-esque gesture with his arm, but he seems to be better at it than Miller. The defenseman has a sloppier start, sort of stumbling into the celly, which puts the whole thing off equilibrium. We commend the effort, but sometimes you have to let the master do what he does best.
6/7. Shea Theodore and Reilly Smith, not reacting at all
Many Golden Knights scored in their first matchup of the season with the Blackhawks. None seemed to care less than defenseman Shea Theodore. To add context, Vegas was already up 5-2 toward the end of the second period when he scored his first of two goals that night. And he does... nothing. If you look closely, he looks like he touches his face to scratch his nose or something. But that’s it.
For Theodore to simply stop in his tracks and stand there is the most non-celebratory celebration to ever exist. He is basically looking all the other players down and saying, “Yeah, I scored. What’s the big deal?”
Similar to Theodore, Reilly Smith has been seen multiple times simply skating away when he scores.
Do you see that?! You almost don’t even realize someone notched a goal. There’s just no reaction at all from Smith. It’s like Ariana Grande says: “Thank u, next.”
Ranking this kind of non-reaction amongst all other cellies depends on how you look at it. Through the lens of the positive, though, it is the ultimate power move. It shows that the player knows they’re good, and it’s stupid that anyone would even question that. This is badass, plain and simple.
5. William Carrier, throwing the monkey off his back
William Carrier’s celly after his first goal of the season happens some time after he scores, but it’s incredible nonetheless. As he skates onto the bench, he reaches behind his back and flicks something imaginary away.
Many see this as Carrier “throwing the monkey off his back.” Prior to this game against the Carolina Hurricanes, the forward was having trouble scoring. Finally, he got one. This looming issue was suddenly resolved.
The meaning and creativity behind this gesture exceeds expectations. Is it subtle? Sure. Do we even know if he meant to throw a monkey off his back, or was he just scratching an itch on his shoulder? We may never know. But the sentiment stands. This is a victory.
4. Max Pacioretty, pounding the ice
Known for his slow starts, Max Pacioretty was having another in his first season with the Golden Knights. He heated up just in time to help his team win 3-2 in overtime against the Arizona Coyotes.
In his celebration afterward, he drops to the ground, punching both of his fists as he looks down. It shows so much emotion in one movement. Humility, pride, excitement.
It’s not a flashy celly by any means, but it has a lot of heart. You can actually see just how big this goal was for Pacioretty. It was his second of the night, and it was the game-winner. This was an important moment to show that he was back in a big way.
3. Alex Tuch, pumping the fist with his signature celly
Three things are certain in life: death, taxes, and Alex Tuch celebrating when he scores. Tuch has become one of Vegas’ most animated players. You know when he’s happy. He celebrates a little bit when his teammates score. And, rightfully so, he celebrates a lot when he scores.
The young forward has mastered his signature celly over the years. He gets a head start, skating his right foot out in front of his left. As he bends his left knee, he takes his arm back like he’s getting ready to throw a bowling ball. He dips further, then pops right back up as he throws his moving arm into the air.
This coordination makes Tuch’s cellies stand above the rest. He is precise yet loose, just like he is when he’s playing. It’s perfect for him, and it’s fun for the fans, too.
2. Ryan Reaves, doing the most every time he scores
Ryan Reaves does not have one good goal celebration. He has many.
This example is Reaves at his finest (and this is the celly he called “trash!”). He simply spreads his arms, and gives you that look: ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!
No need to ask the question, Reaves. Fans of the Golden Knights typically look at the enforcer as the beacon of personality on the team. In the NHL, a lot of players are quiet and reserved. Heck, Vegas certainly has those players. Reaves is not that guy. You’re going to remember when he scores.
1. Jonathan Marchessault (with an assist from Erik Haula), falling to the ground in a loving embrace
A goal hug worthy of an OT penalty shot goal. pic.twitter.com/EB4fwFS8yO— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) October 29, 2018
Where were you when Jonathan Marchessault scored off a penalty shot in overtime against the Ottawa Senators? Sure, asking that might sound dramatic, given this was a regular season game less than one month into the season. But it was an important one nonetheless. Vegas had a slow start, and this win felt like a breakthrough.
Marchessault’s celly before his teammates join him is fairly quiet. He circles around the rink until he meets up with Haula. This is the beautiful moment: Haula straight up tackle hugs Marchessault. You can see them both smiling, thrilled about the victory. Then they fall to the ground in each other’s arms.
It’s hard to say why this is the best celebration. Maybe because it was the game-winner, but many cellies have come after game winners in overtime. This one, perhaps, means the most. It’s one of the moments you can really tell how much these players care about each other. Beyond the win, beyond the team, these guys are dear friends. That’s special to witness. That’s why this celebration sits at No. 1.
Feel free to share any of your favorite Golden Knights cellies over these past two seasons. There are bound to be some fun ones in the comments.