The Tampa Bay Lightning completed their back-to-back championship run on Thursday night when they beat the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 in Game 5. It didn’t take former Hart Trophy winner Nikita Kucherov to let the hockey world know how he felt about things, including Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and his Vezina win.
Fleury edged Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy for the 2021 Vezina Trophy, Fleury’s career first.
Kucherov eschewed a championship shirt for his postgame interviews conducted via Zoom. Instead, Kucherov bellied up to the table, took a big swig of his beer, clapped, and absolutely let it rip.
The Athletic’s Tampa reporter Joe Smith got the first question.
“Joe! Let’s hear it,” Kucherov began.
Smith asked the obligatory “what are your emotions…,” question and Kucherov teed it up like a loose puck in the slot.
The NHL bleeped the first sentence because it used or entirely consisted of the F-word, and we were off to a rolling start.
“I couldn’t sleep for three nights. To be able to win this game is huge. Vasy was outstanding. MVP. I was telling him every day, ‘You’re the MVP. You’re the best player’,” Kucherov emphasized.
But then he steered into criticism of Vezina voters and tossed a little shade towards Marc-Andre Fleury, whose name he didn’t know.
“And then they gave (the Vezina Trophy) to whatever the guy in Vegas. Then last year, they gave the Vezina to someone else,” said Kucherov. “Number one bullshit. Number one bullshit.
Vasy took both Cups. He took MVP. I kept telling him he’s the MVP. He’s the guy, the f*cking…He’s the best.”
Nikita Kucherov not holding back in his post-game. Legendary press conference. pic.twitter.com/6hA9KvpgPE
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) July 8, 2021
The hockey world is split on the presser that turned into an episode of Cops, complete with a shirtless man.
“(Vasilevskiy) was on his head today. He kept us in the game. Another shutout by him. Remarkable. I can’t even tell you anymore,” he continued before he turned his attention to the Montreal Canadiens fans.
It was far from a gracious win. Kucherov then verbally grabbed the flame thrower for one of the biggest, most passionate fan bases in the league.
“I’m so happy. I didn’t want to go back to Montreal. But those fans in Montreal? Cmon,” he said, slapping his hands on the table. “Those fans? They acted like they won the Stanley Cup last game. You kidding me? Their Final was the last series.”
So, what do you think? Kucherov showed personality and honesty? Or total clown shoes?