124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

RIP Canada

Nikita Kucherov’s post-Stanley Cup press conference was a beer-swilling rollercoaster that ended in the first-degree murder of Montreal

Breaking news out of the hockey world today: The Tampa Bay Lightning are back-to-back Stanley Cup champions, becoming just the second holders this century to retain Lord Stanley’s glorious chalice. That is cause for celebration, and celebrate the Tampa Bay Lighting absolutely did.

That was the scene in the locker room after the Lightning's decisive Game 5 victory on Wednesday night, and as great as it was, it paled in comparison to what came next: Arguably the best drunken post-cup press conference in hockey’s long, proud history of drunken post-cup press conferences. Nikita Kucherov, the floor is all yours.

A performance for the ages. Shirtless, the Lightning winger began by clapping manically and holding up two fingers to indicate the number of consecutive Stanley Cups he just won. The he slammed down a hearty slug of Bud Light and prompted Joe Smith of The Athletic to fire away by slapping the table and shouting, “Joe! Let’s hear it, let’s go buddy!”

From there, things veered quickly off the rails.

“Vasil [Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy] was outstanding. MVP,” Kucherov told the room. “I was telling him everyday ‘Vasil, you’re the MVP’ . . . and then they gave it to whatever the guy in Vegas. The Vezina [trailing off]. Then last year they gave Vezina to someone else. Number one bullsh*t. Number one bullsh*t.”

He was not asked about goaltending.

His scorched-earth campaign didn’t end there, however. Kucherov then took aim at the most helpless prey of all—Canada, specifically Montreal—ripping them to shreds for celebrating the semifinals like they had just won the cup.

“I’m so happy. I didn’t want to go back to Montreal . . . but the fans in Montreal, come on. They acted like they won the Stanley Cup last game. Err you kidding me? [pauses for dramatic effect, anger welling] Err you kidding me!?”

The moderator, sensing that Zoom call had fallen into stupefied silence, tried to kick things over to John Romano of the Tampa Bay Times, but Kucherov would not be deterred, squeezing in one last twist of the knife.

“Their final was last series,” he said, the light finally draining from Canada’s eyes.