(Source: Tampa Bay Times, Joe Smith) – “Some guys overstayed in team,” Kucherov told Sovietsy Sport, per translation. “They’ve got their money and stopped working. They knew there’s no competition for their positions and the organization is not going to take someone else. They played not really well this year. You can see it in their stats and way of play. When we played together and I made a pass, they even were not expecting this. That’s why this season was hard for me despite good stats.”

Is Kucherov besties with Jack Eichel? Or did Eichel’s recent public frustration with the Sabres pop up in his Facebook feed? It kind of seems like it. 

Kucherov’s recent openly harsh criticism of his teammates is not exactly something you hear NHL players say publicly. These kind of sentiments tend to generally stay behind closed locker room doors. But now you can add him to the budding list of young stars that are not happy with the way things are going with their respective teams and aren’t afraid to say it.

These kind of public tongue lashings don’t really bother me though. In a way they’re actually refreshing coming from the cliche’ spewing robots NHL players become when asked questions. And these guys are the best in the world making shit loads of cash to play a game and they do it publicly. They perform on display, not tucked away in a miserable cubicle somewhere surviving water cooler weather talk day in and day out. Yes they’re afforded personal privacy, but anyone with a hole and a heartbeat could see something wasn’t right in Tampa this year and if Kucherov wants to say why then have at it. They’re all big boys in that league. 

My only complaint is that I just wish Kucherov went all WWE and started name dropping who he’s talking about with total disregard. He’s already got the villainous Russian name for it. Just muster up the some Ric Flair enthusiasm and outrage and start screaming “that means you, Killorn! And don’t think you’re getting off easy either, Johnson!” while pointing and spitting at the camera. Let these fucking guys have it, Nikita. Go all in.

In time I don’t think Kucherov has much to worry about over this. He might get a few grumpy texts he’ll delete, but nothing crazy. He’s a fucking 40-goal scorer with a bright future and with a healthy Stamkos Tampa should rebound nicely next season. The frustration will cool off when the sourness of missing the postseason eases. 

But if it doesn’t? Well he should just pack his shit and come play for the B’s. I’d even fight Kevan Miller to get Kucherov’s #86 for him. I just wouldn’t be alive afterwards to see him play but that’s what a team first guy like myself would do.

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