Kucherov answers the claims to Tampa that they abused the salary cap system on purpose

Published June 11, 2021 at 4:42 PM

With the Tampa Bay Lightning poised to possibly get back into the Stanley Cup final after winning hockey's greatest prize last year, a lot of talk has been about how the team is over the salary cap since the return of star winger Nikita Kucherov. Kucherov did not play at all in the regular season after undergoing hip surgery. His return at the start of the playoffs allowed the Bolts keep the team it had in tact without being penalized for being over the hard cap of $81.5 million, as the salary cap rules do not apply in the playoffs.

The way this has played out has made many suspicious that Kucherov was held out on purpose, even though he could have returned earlier. After Carolina was eliminated from the playoffs, Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton pointed out twice that "we lost to a team that's $18 million over the cap", although he clarified later that he wasn't stressing that he had a problem with it. Friday, Kucherov decided to respond to those remarks.

"I didn't make the rules with the cap," Kucherov told reporters. "It's not me. I didn't do anything on purpose. I had to do the surgery. I had to go through the whole five months of rehabilitation and, when the time came and I was ready to play, I was playing."

It's worth noting that the NHL did look into what was going on in Tampa Bay before the playoffs began and ruled nothing illegal or against the rules was taking place. Therefore, it appears to all be one big coincidence. Still, there are a lot of fans that won't buy that and will continue to say that the Lightning are "cheating" or bending the rules to work in their favour. The Lightning go up against the New York Islanders in the semi-final round in a rematch that took place in last year's playoffs. What a lot of people don't know is that the Isles are also over the salary cap. According to CapFriendly, New York is carrying $88,427,235 in salary in the playoffs, just under $7 million over the limit of $81.5 million.

June 11   |   140 answers
Kucherov answers the claims to Tampa that they abused the salary cap system on purpose

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