Can Matt Cullen play 70 games this year?

Discussion in 'National Hockey League Talk' started by abo9, Nov 7, 2018.

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  1. abo9

    abo9 Registered User

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    So today I was very surprised to see Matt Cullen was still playing (I was surprised last year), but if he plays at least 70 games, he becomes 18th in total games played in the NHL, between Brendan Shanahan and Steve Yzerman.

    He is currently 25th, and seeing the list I can't help but wonder what's his secret? He never cracked 50 points in one season. In his career was not he a 2nd/3rd liner overall? Yet he is amongst the elite in the league in games played, and players in that top 25 are all hall of famers.

    At 42, what is his secret to still be a relevant player in a league filled with speedy youngster?
     
  2. zaqq

    zaqq Registered User

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    From what I know of Cullen, he does a few things very well. He's safe in his own end, always in good position. He's durable (clearly, as you pointed out his games played) and versatile. Plays any forward position, and in the past could sub-in higher in the lineup without a problem. He is still quick, which is a must for the old guys now.

    Add that to the fact that he's almost always loved by his teammates. There was a chant in the lockerroom after the Cup win in PIT for "one more year" while he was drinking from the cup. Everyone wanted him back.
     
  3. TaLoN

    TaLoN All Hail the FBJ!

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    Tremendous work ethic and love of the game. Still has decent speed at an age when many look like they are dragging concrete blocks.

    Never been an elite player but has always had good hockey iq.... that can take players a long way.
     
  4. jetsfan91

    jetsfan91 Registered User

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    He was one of those guys that when he was younger you would have thought he’d be out of the league by 30 and forgotten about. But obviously like some posters eluded to he has a strong work ethic, he’s reliable on the defensive side of the end, can chip in with a few points here and there and he’s universally liked by his teammates. Awesome to see him still playing at this age.
     
  5. Patric Hornqvist

    Patric Hornqvist Registered User

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    Great guy, but this season he's looked like someone who should have retired last season.
     
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  6. 57special

    57special Registered User Sponsor

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    His family(Dad, etc..) ran, or maybe still runs, a hockey school in the Fargo Moorhead area that focuses on skills/skating. I think those things were instilled in him at an early age, and he has kept the skills up, as well as kept in shape. Main thing is that he still has his wheels. Not blazing fast by any means....never has been...but his overall skating is very good.
     
  7. 57special

    57special Registered User Sponsor

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    He looked like that last year, a bit, though that was partly due to misuse, IMO. He picked it up towards the end of the season and in the playoffs. Too bad the rest of the team didn't.
     
  8. abo9

    abo9 Registered User

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    Cool! thanks guys I kinda figured he kept in shape somehow but was interested to hear what set him apart from all the other players retiring in their mid-30's or before, especially since he is no superstar like Joe Thornton.

    It's a very unusual story and I don't see many players playing past 40.
     
  9. TaLoN

    TaLoN All Hail the FBJ!

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    I think he's learned to pace himself to play stronger later in the season. At 42 I can understand that a bit.
     
  10. abo9

    abo9 Registered User

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    Does he avoid going in the rough area/physical play? He does not look injury prone at all.
     
  11. TaLoN

    TaLoN All Hail the FBJ!

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    Nope, but has the hockey IQ to know when he's at risk and how to avoid it.

    Hockey IQ allows you to think the game fast enough to avoid big hits etc..
     
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  12. ronduguayshair

    ronduguayshair Registered User

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    Reality is he hasn’t looked good this year. It is starting to feel like a bad signing. We let a speedy guy, who came through our development, js dea walk to sign Cullen.

    He’s getting kicked out of a ton of face offs. That can’t happen as the forth line center
     
  13. Rodgerwilco

    Rodgerwilco Here mainly for talking about Fantasy Football.

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    I always thought Cullen was a plug before he came to Pittsburgh, but after watching him for the two seasons with us I understood his appeal.

    A coach can feel comfortable playing him in pretty much any scenario. He can kill penalties well, he can play the powerplay. Good faceoff guy in all 3 zones. Plays all 3 forward positions (could probably be an adequate defender if he tried). He can play bottom 6 roles, or he can slot into a 1st or 2nd line. He's a good skater, adequate speed, good agility. Always in very good position. He's the definition of a utility player/Swiss Army Knife.

    By all accounts he's been a consummate professional his entire career. He plays the game the right way, he conducts himself professionally. Especially at this age, he's someone that players can look to as a mentor/father figure (not sure about Minny, but they actually call him 'Dad' in Pittsburgh).

    Edit: One of the other things that keeps him going is actually his sons, as well. He wants them to see him playing as much hockey as possible while he's still able to. He frequently talks about how they're an inspiration.
     
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  14. stepdad gaary

    stepdad gaary Registered User

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    no. and honestly, he's good for a pretty solid body check about once a game too. you often see him just barrel over someone and it takes me a second to figure out it was cullen each time. He's a really good skater at the end of the day i think thats why he's lasted so long. He's not the fastest guy in the league but he's an excellent skater
     
  15. NyQuil

    NyQuil Not Steve Yzerman

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  16. NyQuil

    NyQuil Not Steve Yzerman

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    He was one of Ottawa's very few productive trade deadline pick-ups.

    8 points in 6 games in the playoffs - losing ironically to the Penguins in 2009-2010.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018
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  17. Tom Hanks

    Tom Hanks Mistakes brought to you by my iPhone.

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    He’s smart, works hard, safe guy to have on the ice, durable, has skill. Just knows how to play the game and adapts. Scores at 40 points/82 over 21 seasons and good defensive game.

    Teamates love him!
     
  18. TaLoN

    TaLoN All Hail the FBJ!

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    Again, started the same way last season...I think it's because he's pacing himself to peak in the second half like he did last season.

    Started like crap last year, turned it around by January, played very well down the stretch at the end of the season.
     
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  19. ronduguayshair

    ronduguayshair Registered User

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    I wouldn’t doubt he’s pacing himself. I think a lot of pens see the bigger picture.
     
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  20. ronduguayshair

    ronduguayshair Registered User

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    His kid is the best amateur forward here in pittsburgh of his age group. I guess they’re home schooled.
     
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  21. inthewings

    inthewings Registered User

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    I love guys like this. Players who are never really high end, but perform consistently well and carve out 15-20 year careers with effective play lower in the lineup.

    Andrew Cogliano is cut from the same cloth.
     
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  22. AnishLoomba

    AnishLoomba Registered User

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    of course he can
     
  23. Rodgerwilco

    Rodgerwilco Here mainly for talking about Fantasy Football.

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    I'm not surprised at all. His father is the perfect role model for a hockey player, in my opinion.
     

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