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5 of the most exuberant goal celebrations in NHL history

James Guillory / US Presswire

Goal celebrations remain a topic of contention in the NHL, with purists decrying the ostentatious displays as a disrespectful distraction from hockey's true values while those in favor applaud the rare outpouring of positive emotion as something the sport is sorely lacking.

But no matter where you stand, goal celebrations have provided some fitting exclamation points on already memorable moments (or careers). Here are five of the most exuberant goal celebrations in NHL history:

Theo Fleury's famous slide

Theo Fleury was known for wearing his heart on his sleeve during his NHL career, and at no time was that more apparent than in the 1991 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Fleury scored for the Calgary Flames in overtime of Game 6 of their opening round series against the Edmonton Oilers and celebrated by flying back down the ice and sliding from the center-ice faceoff circle into Calgary's zone.

Fleury's slide became controversial when Edmonton won Game 7, but decades later it is better remembered than the outcome of the series. In an ironic twist, Fleury's celebration was copied by Oilers forward Nail Yakupov after scoring a winner against the Los Angeles Kings in 2013.

Milan Hejduk swims on ice

Milan Hejduk scored 375 goals in his 14-season career with the Colorado Avalanche, but he enjoyed an overtime winner against the Dallas Stars in 2000 the most.

Hejduk was so overcome with joy after scoring the highlight-reel goal, he decided to go for a swim, creating one of the more outlandish celebrations ever seen on NHL ice.

Sean Avery's 3-second workout

Sean Avery's antics overshadowed any statistical contributions he made during his 10 years in the NHL, but it was impossible to fault the super-pest's creativity.

Avery displayed some of that creativity during his time with the Los Angeles Kings. He scored a cheeky goal against the Nashville Predators by banking the puck in off the goaltender and rubbed it in by doing push-ups on the ice.

Alex Ovechkin: Too hot to handle

Alex Ovechkin took hot streak to a very literal level after reaching the 50-goal plateau for the third time in his career.

The Washington Capitals forward scored against the Tampa Bay Lightning in March 2009 for his 50th of the season and celebrated by pretending his stick was on fire. He placed it on the ice and motioned like he was warming his hands over it.

Ovechkin faced considerable criticism for the clever celebration. He's hit the 50-goal mark twice more since 2009, but the hot stick has yet to make an encore appearance.

Teemu Selanne shoots his glove

Teemu Selanne shocked the NHL with an unparalleled rookie performance, scoring 76 goals in his debut season with the Winnipeg Jets in 1992-93 to set a virtually unbreakable record.

Selanne broke Mike Bossy's record of 53 rookie goals with a two-goal performance against the Quebec Nordiques and added a little Finnish flare to his celebration, flinging his glove into the air and pretending to shoot it with his stick.

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