Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cullen Will Weigh Retiring after Repeat Cup Victory 19-Year Veteran's 3rd Championship Could Be His Last

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cullen Will Weigh Retiring after Repeat Cup Victory 19-Year Veteran's 3rd Championship Could Be His Last

Article excerpt

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Matt Cullen knows he has a decision facing him this offseason.

He also seems like he has a pretty good handle on how it's going to play out.

Cullen, 40, said he plans to take some time this offseason to decide whether to call it quits after a 19-year NHL career. But being able to go out as a back-to-back Stanley Cup champion certainly has its advantages.

"I have a pretty good feeling about where things are at," Cullen said on the ice after the Penguins' 2-0 win to clinch the Stanley Cup Sunday night.

"It's a pretty good way to go out. You can't beat it. Like I said, I'm just going to take a little bit of time when we get home and let things sink it. It still hasn't really sunk in. It happens so fast, but it's been awesome."

Cullen said this Stanley Cup victory was a bit different than the other two he has been through - in 2006 with Carolina and last year's Penguins. While both those teams got hot at the right time, this Penguins team had to scratch and claw for just about every victory, overcoming injuries to key players at seemingly every point.

"It's just harder," Cullen said. "I mean, the other two they just kind of happened. The years kind of clicked and they came together. This year we went in with this expectation that maybe we'd have a legitimate shot at it. But you go through the season with a target on your back and it's not easy. To be able to do this, it's really rewarding."

Especially rewarding for Cullen because, even as the oldest player on the team, he was hardly a passenger in this playoff run. When Nick Bonino went down with a broken tibia in Game 2, Cullen saw his minutes increase and his role shift from fourth-line center to third-line center.

"It definitely means more when you're a big part of it," Cullen said. "To be able to play a role and be a part of it, it adds to it. There's no question about it. It just feels great to have been part of such an unbelievable group. …

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