Nikita Kucherov just completed one of the most dominant two-year postseason runs in NHL history, but his post-game press conference Wednesday perhaps tops anything he's accomplished on the ice.
Kucherov, who led all players with 32 points during the playoffs, took the podium shirtless after the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 in Game 5 to capture their second consecutive Stanley Cup.
The dynamic winger said "ready for the main event?" before launching into an all-time speech.
"Joe, let's hear it!" Kucherov said, clapping his hands and pounding the podium before The Athletic's Joe Smith asked him how he was feeling after winning it all.
"I don't know what to say, f—. Back-to-back. I couldn't sleep for three nights. To be able to win this game was huge."
"Vasi was outstanding. MVP. I was telling him every day 'Vasi, you're MVP, you're the best player.' And then they gave it to whatever the guy in Vegas, the Vezina. Last year, they gave (the) Vezina to somebody else. Number one bulls—, number one bulls—! Vasi took both Cups. He took MVP and I keep telling him he's the MVP, he's the best."
Kucherov was going to be an unpopular guy among Canadiens fans regardless, but now he's certainly going to be public enemy No. 1 when the division realigns again, with both teams expected to square off several times in future seasons. With beer in hand, he had some choice words for Habs supporters on Wednesday night.
"I didn't want to go back to Montreal, but the fans in Montreal acted like they won the Stanley Cup last game. Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? Their final was last series."
Hockey needs more candour, frankly, and Kucherov's comments are a breath of fresh air. Well, maybe not so fresh, his comments brought to you by cigars and Bud Lights. But after posting a playoff run for the ages and winning back-to-back Cups, Kucherov has every right. You do what you want when you're poppin'.
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