Matt Cullen wasn’t entirely sure if he was going to come back to the Pittsburgh Penguins. You can’t really blame him, either: had he retired, he would have gone out on top, a real storybook ending to a storied career.
And retirement was a very real option, even before he joined the Penguins to begin with. After all, today is his 40th birthday.
Happy birthday, Cullen! Pittsburgh’s favorite dad.
That’s a ton of mileage for anyone playing hockey. Most guys tend to retire before their 40th birthday; Cullen is playing in his 19th season, and he already has two goals and seven points in nine games. He is absolutely killing it, 40 years old be damned.
Just how many 40+ year-olds are there in the NHL? Three: Jaromir Jagr, Shane Doan, and now, Cullen. And while Jagr, 44, defies nature, Cullen is the highest-scoring 40-year-old today.
And while there is quite the handful of guys throughout NHL history who have played into their 40s, when you consider just how many have played, period, it’s really not that many. Cullen is a rare breed.
So a very happy birthday to Matt Cullen, indeed - he’s reached a milestone, and he’s still putting up points. You can’t ask for much more than that.