Nikita Kucherov in a wide-ranging Q&A
While Lightning wing Nikita Kucherov has a tendency to be quiet around the media, he's a Russian with a variety of interests and a passionate hockey mind.
I've experienced it before in many conversations the past few years, and it's part of the All-Star wing that Lightning fans likely would like see more of.
Kucherov, 24, recently did a Q&A with Russia's Sovsport.ru, in which he addressed an array of topics, from his season to the Olympics and even Game of Thrones. A few subjects the Tampa Bay Times had already broached a couple weeks ago in our Kucherov story , specifically how he's put synthetic ice in his garage in a tireless summer workout routine. And, just as importantly, how Kucherov feels good after a meeting with GM Steve Yzerman earlier this summer, putting some harshly-translated comments about the Lightning behind him.
Kucherov was very complimentary of his teammates in this piece, including saying goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy could become the best goalie in the world in a few years. Here's excerpts from Q&A from Sovsport.u, translated to English via Google Translate.
Q: "So why do we need ice in the garage, Nikita?"
A: "I recently bought a house in Tampa. And decided to lay ice, put the gate. In summer, there is time to work out. I take it seriously. I train as much as possible. I try to improve the technique.
Q: What needs to be tightened?
A: Everything in bits. Speed, stroke, how to leave corners from defenders and keep distance. How to take on a bigger game. I see, so do Malkin, Crosby, Kane, even Panarin and many others ... It was possible to perform together with Artemy at the World Championships. I always watched him. It can be seen that he has speed, and he can take the game on himself. I feel, and I am capable of this...In the season I will not have time to work on everything.
Q: What is your garage size?
Q: And the synthetic ice is what?
A: Plastic placed on the floor, that's all.
Q: Buying a house is wonderful. How do you like Tampa?
A: The city is not so big. A small quiet place. Always sun and heat. I really like it there.
Q: You had a meeting with the general manager of Tampa Steve Yzerman in June about this (Russian) interview. How did they talk?
A: Very good. There are no complaints or disagreements. That April (article) nobody touched. We were just glad to see each other. In general, we have a normal relationship, you do not think anything like that.
Q:Name the three of your dreams. Not necessarily from Lightning.
A: When I came to "Tampa", my dream was to play in one line with Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos. But it was not possible - at first Stamkos had an (injury), and when he came out, then St. Louis was exchanged that day for Rangers.
Q: You also had a wonderful troika at the World Championships, with Artemy Panarin and Kuznetsov. What was remembered about this tournament?
A: The atmosphere in the team and the level of hockey. It was very nice to play. We with "Tampa" did not get into the playoffs, and the World (Championship) was like an outlet. I did not want to end the season so early. In Cologne came my mother and mother-in-law, wife. I was very glad to see them. It's a great joy when relatives are rooting for you from the rostrum, and you can hug them after the match. We had a friendly team. Sorry, did not get to the finals.
Q: What is more important - talent or work?
A:Talent is very important. Without it, it's hard to get through, play at a high level. But labor is simply necessary. Without effort, you can not pull out the fish from the pond, either.
Q: Tell the story of your number.
A: When I came to CSKA, they gave me that. Especially did not choose. As a child, he always acted at number 15. Well, in the first team he was busy. And it was impossible for the "Red Army" (MHL) to match the numbers with CSKA. So they gave me 86, and I took it.
Q: Last season you started early because of the World Cup. But played phenomenally, gaining 85 (40 + 45) points. So, did the early start work?
A: Hard to say. You remember that I did not have a contract until October. I missed the training camp. So the World Cup was like a training camp. A very good tournament, which cheered and helped to roll into the season faster. You go out against the best hockey players in the world, you are with the best. This is a huge experience.
Q: "Why do you seem so harsh?" Although it can be seen that Kucherov is a sociable guy.
A: It happens, if a bad game, or dissatisfied with your hockey. I can not hide my emotions and pull this smile. If even something does not work out during training, I do not know how to walk and rejoice. I take the failures seriously. Maybe I think about it too much. I'm waiting for the next day to go out to practice and improve.
I perceive all these moments more seriously than others. Therefore, maybe it seems stern. Although who knows me, friends and acquaintances - they will say that I like to communicate, in life I'm (easy going).
Q: Name your favorite player in each of the positions.
A: The goalkeeper is Vasilevsky. While about him in the NHL does not say much, but a couple of years, Vasy can become the best goalkeeper in the world. Defenders - Victor Hedman and Eric Karlsson, two Swedes. Attack - I'll take Stamkos and Malkin with me.
Q: You will be interested in the Olympics without hockey players NHL? Do not go to Pyeongchang - will you watch Games on TV?
A: Yes, I will support our people. If you show in America at the weekend - I'll see the whole match. Or cutting the best moments. hope that many of my friends will go to Korea - Gusev, Nesterov, Grigorenko, Yarullin ...
Q: What kind of music do you like to listen to?
A: Little bit of everything. I do not like hard - rock, "Metallica". Rather, I'll choose pop, rap, R'n'B.
Q: What concert did you attend last years?
A: I have not been to any yet. Time did not find. And when the concert is near, I do not go. Better rest or practice.
Q: Which show will you choose?
A: While I miss the seventh season of "Game of Thrones" - I'm waiting for all the series to come out. And then I'll take it at once.
Q: Why are you not very active in social networks?
A: Why? I'm using twitter (@ 86Kucherov).
Q: Favorite resort?
A: The Bahamas, was there twice.
Q: Favorite dish?
A: Meat in French, which is prepared by my grandmother.
Q: What is your favorite color?
A: The black.
Q: What is the car brand?
A: "The Mercedes."