Nikita Kucherov has been living his best life since winning his second consecutive Stanley Cup.
After a series-clinching victory Wednesday night, Kucherov – who led the playoffs in scoring with 32 points – delivered a legendary, shirtless, beer-soaked press conference, taking shots at Canadiens fans and opposing goalies.
During the Lightning’s Stanley Cup boat parade Monday, Kucherov delivered an encore. On a boat and once again shirtless, the 28-year-old Maykop, Russia native told fans to have some fun.
“Unreal. All the people right here. Unreal,” Kucherov told WFLA-TV. “Love them all. Let’s party hard. Our time baby. Back-to-back. That is how we do it.”
Tampa has hosted three boat parades over the last year. The Buccaneers had a memorable one that featured Tom Brady throwing the Lombardi Trophy in February, and the Lightning hosted one last summer after winning the Cup in the Edmonton bubble.
“Unreal. Nobody else has done [boat parades] before,” Kucherov said. “Look how many people are here and how many people are on the boat. It is just unreal.”
However, Kucherov – who posted a picture of himself wearing an “$18M over the cap” shirt Sunday – did take a second during his celebration to acknowledge that some of his teammates may be gone next season. The Lightning made headlines for being $18 million over the salary cap in the postseason, creating somewhat of a controversy that followed the team throughout its Stanley Cup run.
“Unbelievable. Nobody can beat us. Back-to-back years. It is an unreal team,” Kucherov said. “Everybody plays hard. I wish we could keep everybody but it is a business. But as of right now, let’s party hard and let’s enjoy it. We deserve it.”
Kucherov ended the interview the only way he could – by pouring a beer over the reporter’s head.