Oil Kings Hunger to win in Game 6
Players make use of hand gesture from popular novel
By Chris O'Leary, edmontonjournal.com
May 11, 2012
Winterhawks Marcel Noebels and Oil Kings Mark Pysyk go after the puck during first period action at Rexall Place, May 3, 2012 in Edmonton.
Photograph by: Rick MacWilliam , edmontonjournal.com
EDMONTON — Mark Pysyk etched his name in Edmonton Oil Kings’ lore on Thursday with his game-winning goal, but the team captain chose a unique celebration for his series-shifting shot.
After soaking up the moment with his teammates, Pysyk took off his right glove and made the salute used in The Hunger Games. The gesture — touching your thumb overtop of your pinky finger, leaving the other three fingers pointing upward — comes from the Suzanne Collins novel, which was adapted to film in March. In the film, the gesture becomes a symbol of dissension that implies the players in the game are playing by their own rules and will win in their own way.
Pysyk said he just liked the movie when he and the Oil Kings saw it during Round 1 of the WHL playoffs in Cranbrook and started using the symbol.
“Ever since then, I’ve been doing it for jokes,” he said.
“I’ve only seen the movie, I haven’t read the books or anything, but it’s pretty cool. It seems like everyone bands together when they do it. Once the one girl Katniss does it, everybody jumps on board with her. There’s a togetherness, a team feeling about it.”
Oil Kings head coach Derek Laxdal hasn’t noticed the odd time through the playoffs that Pysyk has broken the symbol out on the ice.
“I haven’t seen anything. I was too busy focusing on what we had to do to defend after we scored,” he said. “I don’t look at what happens after a guy scores. That’s up to the kids to enjoy.”
Home fans get loud
After a pair of games in Portland where Winterhawks fans packed the lower bowl of the Rose Garden and had the volume hovering near the 100-decible mark, the Oil Kings were appreciative of the playoff record 11,077 fans they had out at Rexall Place on Thursday night for their Game 5 win.
It wasn’t a full house — Oilers games routinely sell out at 16,839 — but the arena exploded with Pysyk’s goal, making for a memorable moment.
“It was really nice to see it in Edmonton,” Oil Kings forward Michael St. Croix said. “When Mark scored with 55 seconds left in the game, it was the loudest I’ve heard that building (with the Oil Kings) playing there, that’s for sure.
“It’s really exciting and when you get a crowd like that it really does help you get the momentum. We really liked the fan support.”
A number of Oil Kings took to Twitter after the game on Thursday to talk about the crowd.
“huge win tonight!” defenceman Keegan Lowe posted. “shout out to all of [email protected]
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