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Stanley Cup Final

Matt Cullen undecided on future after Penguins' Cup win

40-year-old center unsure if he'll retire from NHL after 19 seasons, three championships

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

NASHVILLE -- Center Matt Cullen said it was too early to decide whether he will retire from the NHL after winning his second straight Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday.

"It's hard to even consider because it's such an unknown," Cullen said. "It's all I've known my whole life. I've played hockey since I was two years old. It's all I ever wanted to do. It's all I've ever dreamed of doing and I thank God every day for giving me this opportunity.

"There are so many people that help you along the way. It's just at a time like this you think back on that and you're so thankful and so humble, it's awesome."

 

[RELATED: Complete Predators vs. Penguins series coverage | Cullen gets Gatorade squirts from son as he hoists Stanley Cup]

 

Cullen, 40, has played 19 seasons in the League and has won the Cup three times, twice with the Penguins the past two seasons, and with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006. He has 56 points (18 goals, 38 assists) in 123 Stanley Cup Playoff games, and 689 points (248 goals, 441 assists) in 1,366 regular-season games.

There were hints that Cullen may be retiring after the 2-0 win against the Nashville Predators in Game 6 at Bridgestone Arena.

Defenseman Ron Hainsey, who received the Cup first from captain Sidney Crosby, said he was lobbying for Cullen to take the trophy before him.

"I was kind of lobbying for [Cullen] if it's his last game, which I think it is, or [Chris] Kunitz, who has four Cups," Hainsey said. "But it's obviously just a tremendous honor."

Cullen, the oldest player in the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, led Penguins forwards in ice time with 19:42, including 4:42 shorthanded to help kill four Predators power plays.

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm6: Cullen on winning his third Cup

Nashville had two power plays in the third period, including 32 seconds of 5-on-3.

Cullen and the Penguins killed off those penalties before Patric Hornqvist's goal with 1:35 left made it 1-0. Carl Hagelin's empty-net goal made it 2-0 with 13.6 seconds remaining to seal the win.

"It was survival mode at that point," Cullen said. "Obviously we understood at that point of the game that a goal might be the game.

"We were in pretty desperate times and guys just grinded it out and [goalie Matt Murray] was awesome in the cage. You're just trying to survive it and give the big guys a chance to come out and put one in."

Cullen said playing a major role in those key penalty-killing situations was a special feeling.

"Definitely when you're a big part of it," he said. "To be able to play a role and be a part of it, it adds to it, no question about it. It just feels great to have been part of such an unbelievable group."

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