Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov talks about his development into one of the NHL’s best

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TampaBayLightning.com's Caley Chelios sits down with Bolts winger Nikita Kucherov to get his thoughts on how he has developed into one of the NHL's best players.

REPORTER: Kucherov has signed an eight year extension worth $76 million.

REPORTER: He's 100 point scorer at the age of 25, and you don't want these type of players to get away from the organization.

REPORTER: The feature certainly looks bright.

ANNOUNCER: What a goal by Nikita Kucherov, and they do tie it up. And [INAUDIBLE] score! He did it again!

- Obviously, Nikita, it's been an exciting summer for you, an eight year extension with the Lightning, and you did pretty early on. Just what made Tampa the right fit for you?

- Tampa's the first time I played in the [INAUDIBLE]. And that wasn't a tough decision to make. And we had opportunity to sign this year, and I didn't want to wait until next year. And I'm glad I'm staying here for a long time.

- It seemed like a pretty easy decision for you, too. Did you even consider the possibility of playing for another team, or what was the conversation like when you talked with Steve Weissman?

- I did not really talk until my age and stuff. And I'm more like leave me alone, and do your thing, and I'm going to do my thing. And other than Tampa, I just don't really see myself playing anywhere.

ANNOUNCER 1: Bush, did he do this on purpose?

ANNOUNCER 2: He absolutely did it on purpose. There's no doubt about it.

ANNOUNCER 1: Hear that, kid? If you can do this, you're having fun.

REPORTER: Has it sunk in yet? Just thinking about when you go home, and think about where you grew up, and where you played, and now NHL top 10 player last year, $76 million contract now, does that set in yet?

NIKITA KUCHEROV: You try to not think about it. Because every year it is tough, and a lot of young players coming in, and it makes the game even harder to play. And every year, coming into the camp, and show everything you can do, and be the best you can be, and I think nobody's looking at what you did in the past. You have to prepare, and do better next year. So there's obviously a lot I'll have to work on and I would have to be better at, so just trying to, you know, be how I've looked, just you know, work hard, and show everything I can.

REPORTER: Just watching your off-season regimen and kind of what you do in the weight room, on the ice, you seem to be really self-motivated. How do you stay motivated like that when you talk about how competitive it is?

NIKITA KUCHEROV: You look at players, they're so consistent year after year, like Crosby and [INAUDIBLE], and all the superstars in the league. So you want to be on the same level they are, and you obviously have to push even harder. So that's what I think pushes me even more and more every year. And I want to be better than them. And I want to win the Cup. And I'm going to do everything I can to you know, touch with the score.

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