After some pretty rough times as of late for the Pittsburgh Penguins the organization kicked off Monday morning with some good news regarding Penguins' captain Sidney Crosby, but unfortunately that trend did not last very long at all.
According to a breaking news report from the Pittsburgh Penguins organization, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan has just revealed that veteran forward Matt Cullen has been taken out of the Penguins line up for the foreseeable future. Cullen has reportedly suffered some form of lower body injury and according to Sullivan this is no minor bump or bruise and as a result the oldest player on the Penguins roster is expected to be out for the long term. No time frame for Cullen's recovery has been put forth by Penguins or Sullivan at this time but given his advanced age as well as the long term nature of this injury and it may be a very long time indeed before we see Matt Cullen in a Penguins jersey again, if ever.
The 42 year old center was a highly controversial pick up on the part of the Penguins this season due to his advanced age and in spite of constant derision from the Penguins fan base Cullen has shown himself to be at the very least a serviceable forward for the team. Appearing in 18 games thus far in the 2018 - 2019 National Hockey League regular season for the Penguins he has picked up 2 goals and 2 assists for a total of 4 points since joinign the team. That being said he does boast a plus minus rating of -2 on the season and has added 6 penalty minutes on top of that as well and given how much he has slowed down at this stage of his career it's not as if the criticism has been entirely unfounded.
Cullen was part of the comeback effort on Saturday night as the Penguins tried to rally back against the Ottawa Senators and he even managed to find the back of the net on that occasion and even tried to rally the team further with his comments after the game.
"As a group, we've just got to find a way," said Cullen as per Yahoo Sports.
"I think we're better than the way we're playing," Cullen said. "The last period showed some fight, but from the drop of the puck we need to have more urgency in our game.
"Time goes pretty quick. We find ourselves at Thanksgiving here pretty soon. We've got to get to our game and do it more consistently.
"These are important points for us. We can't keep missing our opportunities."
The response to the Penguins announcement today has primarily been one of mockery and derision from the Penguins fan base but the loss of a veteran leader like Cullen, especially when an elite center like Sidney Crosby remains out of the line up, certainly won't serve to help the Penguins moving forward. The good news is that, although he will not play tonight, Crosby appeared to take some big strides forward at practice today and is likely very close to making his return to the line up.