As Cullen explained to Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, “this is a family decision.” As he goes deeper into his logic, even especially sore Pittsburgh Penguins fans should probably understand Cullen’s perspective.
“Minnesota is home and it’s a special place for me,” Cullen said. “It’s not easy to say goodbye and it’s not easy to walk away [from Pittsburgh]. I’m confident in the decision we’re making and it’s the right thing for our family. But at the same time, it’s not an easy one.
Now, to be fair, Cullen also told Russo that he believes the Wild are a “hungry” team that might have been the West’s best in 2016-17. It’s not like he’s roughing it, and surely the $1 million (and $700K in performance bonuses that Wild GM Chuck Fletcher hopes Cullen collects) didn’t hurt, either.
Matt Cullen's bonuses are all based on playoff team success.
Chuck Fletcher: "I'm hoping we pay them all." #mnwild
— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) August 16, 2017
Still, such a decision makes extra sense for a 40-year-old who’s played for eight different NHL teams during his impressive career. Russo’s story about Cullen attending his kids games and seeing his brothers is worth a read just for those warm and fuzzy feelings we often forget about in crunching the numbers and pondering which teams might be big-time contenders in 2017-18.
This isn’t to say that getting a fourth Stanley Cup ring wouldn’t be appealing to Cullen, but perhaps he’ll get his family time and win big, too?
There’s also the familiarity that comes with playing three fairly recent seasons with the Wild, so Cullen’s choice seems like it checks a lot of the boxes.
Tuesday was Wild day at PHT, but perhaps this feels more like Wild week?