Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

At 40, Cullen Thinking Cup, Not Retirement

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

At 40, Cullen Thinking Cup, Not Retirement

Article excerpt

Penguins center Matt Cullen isn't quite ready to commit to playing a 20th NHL season in 2017-18.

He also has heard it said and seen it written that he's automatically going to retire after this year, and Cullen, 40, said that's not entirely accurate, either.

Fact is, Cullen has made no decision other than wishing to play hockey now and until this season is finished. Hopefully, he figures, with more cereal eaten from the Stanley Cup.

"I've taken the same approach for the last few years, and it's served me well," Cullen said. "I'm trying to enjoy it as much as possible and soak it all in, make the most of it. We had a special one last year. I want to try to do it again this year, and that's a big part of the reason I came back."

The line of questioning was not to try to get Cullen to commit to coming back. It was more to see if Cullen actually had committed to this being his final NHL season and to check on his health.

He hasn't made a decision, and it's pretty much been business as usual for ageless Cullen, who only last week might have removed all of the shaving cream from his birthday pie in Anaheim at the beginning of November.

"Truthfully the biggest decision was whether to come back this year," Cullen said. "Once I decided to come back this year, that was the only thing on my mind. I know some people can do it, but I'm just not a guy who can have all that stuff in his head. I just want to focus on one goal. Then I'll deal with that later."

The good news is that Cullen isn't slogging through the season; his body has actually surprised him with how much it has cooperated.

Cullen has seven goals in 38 games. If he plays all 82 like he did last season, that will leave him with 15 goals at the end of the regular season, one shy of last year. His point total - 14 in 38 games, on pace for 30 - is right in line with 32 from a year ago. …

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