Getting To Know: Nikita Kucherov

Mark Malinowski sits down for a Q&A with Tampa Bay rookie right winger Nikita Kucherov.

Status: Tampa Bay Lightning right winger

Height: 5-foot-11 Weight: 171 pounds

DOB: June 17, 1993 In: Moscow, Russia

First Hockey Memory: “My first practice. I was six. I had only my skates and helmet and I didn’t have all the equipment. And I just stepped on the ice and I didn’t fall, I just skated away. A smile on my face every time. My mother filmed like a movie of it. And then after like ten minutes I just fell on the ice, just laying on the ice and laughing, didn’t do anything. So it was kind of funny.”

Hockey Inspirations: “Heroes? Pavel Datsyuk. I think he’s the best. I watch so many highlights about him in YouTube. So I try to play like him, take some things from him. I think he’s the best, for me.”

Last Book Read: “I don’t know, I don’t read much.”

Current Car: “I don’t have a car right now.”

First Famous Hockey Player You Met Or Encountered: “Jaromir Jagr in Moscow. He did a special appearance for the children. He gave me the gift because I was like the best in practice.”

Greatest Sports Moment: “When I got called up to the NHL and scored first goal (on first shot in first game vs. New York Rangers).”

Most Painful Moment: “When I had injury on my shoulder. I think that was most painful for me (When?) Before world juniors in Calgary I had the injury but they didn’t tell me I had like a problem. They said it was good, you can play. And then I just kept playing, it was still hurting. I played in world juniors and I played not very good. Everyone talked after like Kucherov is not really that good in world juniors. And then we had playoffs with my team. And I was hit like three times and three times my shoulder was like dislocated. And it was so hurt. That was my most painful. And then the next year I missed like three months.”

READ ALSO:  Getting to Know: Former NHLer Jassen Cullimore

Most Memorable Goal: “First NHL goal.”

Funniest Player Encountered: “St-Louis. (Why him?) Every time he’s talking he’s making a joke to try to make everyone laugh.”

Closest Hockey Friends: “I think J.T. Brown because we stay together at the hotel, hang out with each other. So I think he’s the closest right now.”

Fiercest Competitor(s) Encountered: “I think St-Louis too.”

Favorite Uniforms: “I think ours, the blue and the white I like.”

Why Do You Love Playing Hockey: “I don’t know, I just love to score goals and play the game. And I enjoy every time I step on the ice.”

Funny Hockey Memory: “I can’t remember.”

Favorite Sport Outside Hockey: “Soccer.”

Three Athletes You Like To Watch & Follow: “Datsyuk. Christiano Ronaldo. And Lionel Messi.”

Strangest Game: “Couple times, we beat some team like 3-0 and they just started to like hit us and slash us and fight us. And in the second period our coach just said, ‘Let’s leave the game.’ (Where?) ‘In Russia.’ “

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: “Chocolate.”

First Job: “I was a referee. For three games [smiles].”

Mark ‘Scoop’ Malinowski’s new book “Facing Federer” is available on amazon. Malinowski is the creator of two websites: and