https://www.nhl.com/news/nikita-kuch...ay/c-304281164

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

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"Kucherov is just a real hockey fanatic," Hockey Hall of Famer Pavel Bure said. "He built an artificial rink at home, reads only about hockey, talks about hockey. Everyone's different, but it's great that a person is so invested in what he does."

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"In Russia, Kucherov said he didn't have the tools or the time to work at his craft the way he wanted to. He realized he could here after arriving for the 2012-13 season, when he played for Quebec and Rouyn-Noranda in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

"I remember seeing people looking at what they were eating and how they were preparing for the game," said Kucherov, who was selected by the Lightning in the second round (No. 58) in the 2011 NHL Draft. "Back in Russia, we didn't have that. We were just messing around. It was who cares who you're playing against? No nap. Nothing. I came over here and guys were really strict about their diets, their work after and before on the ice. In Russia, we had an hour from this minute to this minute, that's it. You couldn't stay longer and you couldn't go on earlier, nothing. When I came here, it was just a different life and I just fell in love with it."

He remembers being jealous of some of the players he met, like Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon and Montreal Canadiens left wing Jonathan Drouin, who were both playing for Halifax in the QMJHL in 2012-13.

"All these players, they're so good and I wanted to be like one of them, like [Patrick] Kane and those guys," Kucherov said. "I don't have good speed and I didn't have a good shot. I didn't have a bunch of things. But I wanted to work to be closer to them."


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