Kucherov Embraces the Bad Guy Image

TAMPA, FLORIDA - JULY 07: Nikita Kucherov #86 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates with the Stanley Cup after the 1-0 victory against the Montreal Canadiens in Game Five to win the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on July 07, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Hockey fans everywhere clamor for NHL players to show more character and more personality when they’re not on the ice and when one steps outside the lines then fans want to run and yell and scream this isn’t what they want. Nikita Kucherov’s post game press conference was sensational from the standpoint that it showed some true raw emotion from players when they can often be seen as robots.

Saying what Kucherov said about Habs fans celebrating their game 4 win might have been ill-timed but in this one man’s opinion it certainly wasn’t “classless” it was absolutely funny. People also seemed to take exception to Kucherov’s take on Vasilevskiy being “robbed” of the Vezina but how is that really any different from Shea Weber stopping Carey Price from taking all the blame for the series? It wasn’t said in the most eloquent manner but Kucherov was clearly standing at the back of his goaltender which is no different from what Weber did for Price but Weber went about it in a much more tolerable manner.

The bigger issue taken from the postgame presser by social media was Kucherov blatantly calling out Habs fans which I found to be amazing in a few different ways.

Hockey is a game fueled by hate and governed by emotion and Kucherov’s comments were just steeped in them. Villains are needed for sports and while Tampa was already on the verge of becoming the league’s newest villain
(as I mentioned in a previous article) and Kucherov gave himself and his club a violent thrust right into that spotlight and based by his press conference he certainly doesn’t mind playing the bad guy.

Kucherov’s comments will place a target not only on his team’s back next season but his own as well. You know Shea Weber is already drooling at the thought of being able to line up a nice hard open ice check on Kucherov as he steps over the red line. The game needs more hate and more rivalries and while many people might not like what Kucherov did after winning the Cup, it’s this kind of attitude that the NHL needs in the worst possible way. People can’t have their cake and eat too, so if you’re one of the fans that want players to show emotion and be real and then want to condemn players like Kucherov then I don’t really know what you’re looking for from players. Kucherov was honest and unfiltered in a huge moment where that this league has only seen for the second time in twenty years so I for one applaud Kucherov for speaking his mind. For all the fans calling him “classless” then I have one thing for you, say hello to the bad guy because he’s here to stay.

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