ShareThis Page
Penguins

Penguins' Matt Cullen out with long-term injury

Jonathan Bombulie
| Monday, Nov. 19, 2018, 12:45 p.m.
The Penguins’ Matt Cullen takes a shot during the first day of camp Friday, Sept. 14, 2018 at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins’ Matt Cullen takes a shot during the first day of camp Friday, Sept. 14, 2018 at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.

The Pittsburgh Penguins will be without veteran center Matt Cullen on a long-term basis due to a lower-body injury, coach Mike Sullivan said Monday.

Cullen was injured during a 6-4 Penguins loss to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. He played more than 10 minutes in the game, scoring a goal during a third-period comeback attempt.

Cullen, 42, has two goals and two assists in 18 games since signing on for a second tour of duty with the Penguins in July.

His absence will most likely be felt most on the penalty kill. With Cullen out and Carl Hagelin traded to Los Angeles, the Penguins will be without two of their top four most-used penalty killers this season.

“I think Matt’s quietly played a solid game for us,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “He’s a good penalty killer. He’s a good faceoff guy. I use his line in a lot of instances situationally. He tends to take a lot of defensive-zone starts, so he’s put in difficult positions and he does a good job for us.

“His leadership speaks for itself and what it brings to our bench and to our locker room. He’s such a quality person in that regard. I think he’s quietly done everything we expected him to do when we signed him.”

Cullen’s place in the lineup will be taken by Riley Sheahan, who was a healthy scratch Saturday night in Ottawa. During morning skate, Sheahan centered Zach Aston-Reese and Bryan Rust on the fourth line.

Cullen’s absence also makes it more likely that Daniel Sprong holds onto a lineup spot. After missing the previous four games as a healthy scratch, Sprong skated on the third line with Dominik Simon and Derek Grant on Saturday. That combination remained intact during Monday’s morning skate.

“I thought Daniel played hard,” Sullivan said. “I thought his line in particular played pretty good. They generated a few scoring chances. We were pleased with his participation in that process. Obviously we’re looking for a little bit more balance throughout our lineup and hopefully they’ll provide that for us.”

Casey DeSmith, meanwhile, will make his return to the net after Matt Murray gave up three goals on 10 shots in the first period Saturday.

“We still believe in Matt Murray, but we’ve also acknowledged a little bit of his early season struggles,” Sullivan said. “We’re trying to work with him and help him in that capacity. At the same time, we’re trying to make decisions on a game-to-game basis that are going to help our team win.”

Follow the Pittsburgh Penguins all season long.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at jbombulie@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me