Lightning's Nikita Kucherov Earns Bud Light Endorsement After Shirtless Presser

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 9, 2021

TAMPA, FL - JULY 7: Nikita Kucherov #86 of the Tampa Bay Lightning hoists the Stanley Cup overhead after the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Montreal Canadiens in Game Five to win the best of seven game series 4-1 during the Stanley Cup Final of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on July 7, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images

Bud Light announced Friday it has signed Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov to an endorsement contract after he drank the company's beer during his now-viral shirtless press conference after the NHL team won its second straight Stanley Cup title on Wednesday night.

Bud Light @budlight

He may not have a shirt, but he’s got a contract with us. Welcome to the team <a href="https://twitter.com/86Kucherov?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@86Kucherov</a>!<br><br>There will be no press conferences for this announcement. <a href="https://t.co/u2j0czHahc">pic.twitter.com/u2j0czHahc</a>

Kucherov delivered some brutally honest postgame remarks in wake of the championship celebration, most notably taking aim at fans of the runner-up Montreal Canadiens for their response to a Game 4 overtime win despite the Bolts' 3-1 lead in the series at the time (NSFW language):

Sportsnet @Sportsnet

"The fans in Montreal acted like they won the Stanley Cup last game. Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? Their final was last round."<br><br>Just an incredible press conference from Nikita Kucherov here.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ItsOn?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ItsOn</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StanleyCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#StanleyCup</a> <a href="https://t.co/rmaNrCQVHB">pic.twitter.com/rmaNrCQVHB</a>

The Lightning scored a 1-0 victory in Game 5 on Wednesday to close out the series. They are the NHL's first back-to-back champions since the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017.

Kucherov, who missed the entire 2020-21 regular season while recovering from hip surgery, didn't miss a beat when he returned for the postseason. He led all playoff scorers with 32 points (eight goals and 24 assists) in 23 games during Tampa's title run.

The 28-year-old Russian, who was equally impactful with 34 points in last year's playoffs, is a three-time All-Star and won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL's MVP for the 2018-19 season.

Kucherov, a 2011 second-round pick, has averaged better than a point per game (546 points in 515 appearances) in the regular season since making his debut for Tampa in 2013.

The Bolts will face difficult roster decisions in the offseason as they deal with a salary-cap crunch while trying to keep as many pieces from their championship rosters together, but Bud Light's newest endorser is a lock to return for the three-peat bid.