Nikita Kucherov didn’t hold back after winning his second straight Stanley Cup. The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Montreal Canadiens in Game 5 of the Final on Wednesday to repeat as champions.
Kucherov went to the podium shirtless and drank bud light as he gave brutally honest opinions following the victory. Kucherov ripped into both the Montreal Canadiens fans and the Vezina Trophy voting. The Russian superstar led the playoffs in scoring for the second straight postseason.
Kucherov recorded 32 points in 23 postseason games after missing the entire regular season due to injury. Many hockey fans believe the Lightning circumvented the salary cap by leaving Kucherov on LTIR all year.
“I don’t know what to say. F**king back-to-back. I couldn’t sleep for three straight days”, said Kucherov.
Any questions? pic.twitter.com/4pWptQMbHf
— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) July 8, 2021
Kucherov said his goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy deserved the Vezina Trophy over winner Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights. Fleury narrowly edged out Vasilevskiy in the voting process.
“Vasy was outstanding. I kept kelling Vasy he’s MVP. ‘You’re the best player’. And they they gave the Vezina to whatever the guy in Vegas. Last year they gave the Vezina to someone else. No.1 bullsh*t. No.1 bullsh*t…”
Kucherov also went off on Montreal Canadiens fans. The Habs only win against Tampa Bay was a Game 4 OT victory at Bell Centre. Kucherov didn’t appreciate how Montreal celebrated the victory.
“I didn’t want to go back to Montreal”, said Kucherov. “But the fans acted like they won the Stanley Cup last game. Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? Their final was last series.”
Nikita Kucherov not holding back in his post-game. Legendary press conference. pic.twitter.com/6hA9KvpgPE
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) July 8, 2021
If you want to watch the full uncensored Kucherov interview that didn’t make TV, go here.
Not only did Kucherov lead the playoffs in scoring, but he did so playing through injury. According to Kucherov’s agent, Dan Milstein, his client played with a fractured rib after getting cross-checked by Islanders’ defenseman Scott Mayfield in Round 3.
Considering the bud light and lack of shirt, it’s safe to assume alcohol may have fueled some of Kuch’s comments. You may disagree with Kucherov’s opinions, but it’s great to see NHL players show personality.