Matt Cullen played his 1500th game in the NHL last night. It’s really quite striking just how rare and much of a career achievement that is.
Here’s some odds and ends to commemorate the occasion:
To put Cullen's achievement in perspective, he is the 20th player to hit 1,500+ GP in a league reached by 7,061 skaters.— Bob Grove (@bobgrove91) March 5, 2019
Cullen could pass Steve Yzerman (1,514) this season for 19th place all-time. He won’t have the games available to pass anyone else....Unless of course he comes back next year.
Matt Cullen on seeing the locker room fully dressed in Cullen jerseys: "I like seeing Sid in a '7'. I like that." pic.twitter.com/Vew5C2yZnP— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 6, 2019
The team all warmed up in 7 jerseys:
Minnesota is home to 10,000+ lakes, but Pittsburgh is home to 10,000+ Cullens*.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 5, 2019
*slight exaggeration pic.twitter.com/0lhTrbItWX
“It’s such a great milestone. There aren’t too many people that reach it,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “I think it’s a reflection of his passion for the game, his professionalism. There aren’t too many guys that take care of themselves and train the way he does, and live the way he does in order to give himself the best opportunity to continue to play and sustain his performance.”
There was a pre-game celebration where Cullen was awarded a special plaque, stick, and the coolest to me is this custom black an gold Polaris.
This was one of Matt’s gifts from the team. It’s pretty cool pic.twitter.com/coiygDSKe0— Dana Heinze (@RealDanaHeinze) March 6, 2019
In honor of Matt Cullen’s 1,500th game, the Pittsburgh Penguins provided Cullen with a commemorative silver-plated hockey stick and a plaque celebrating his career. Additionally, the players collectively purchased Matt Cullen a new Polaris utility vehicle. pic.twitter.com/PBEpr7gT7P— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 6, 2019
Cullen also got to start the game on a line with Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel.
Later in the first period the team put out this video at the game, including getting Hall of Famer and legend Chris Chelios to take a minute and recognize Cullen as only the second American to join the 1,500 NHL games club.
No one plans to play 1,500 NHL games.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 6, 2019
What Matt Cullen has done was achieved by taking each day one-at-a-time, being disciplined in his training, and forging strong bonds with supportive teammates and family along the way.
Let's step back and appreciate the past 21 seasons. pic.twitter.com/tZRNKOHsCA
A great night capped off with a win.
"It was way more than I deserve or expect."— Post-Gazette Sports (@PGSportsNow) March 6, 2019
Matt Cullen was stunned when the Penguins paid tribute to his 1,500th career game by wearing his No. 7 jersey during warm-ups. pic.twitter.com/i3pEYUikLm
And kudos to Emma and Chris from the Pens for this great graphic!