Cullen's quick return comes at perfect time for Wild

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 16, 2013 - 2:26 PM
hide

Matt Cullen, shown in his last appearance on April 1, returned to the lineup Monday. He had an assist and was plus-2 in the 4-3 victory over Calgary.

Photo: Associated Press file photo ,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

CALGARY,  ALBERTA -- Matt Cullen didn’t suit up against the Calgary Flames wearing Superman’s cape. But there was a distinct sense of optimism inside the Wild’s dressing room when players learned Monday morning that they would be welcoming back the valued center.

After missing six games because of a lower-body injury that typically takes three or four weeks to heal, Cullen returned after two. While he was medically cleared and felt good, there was little doubt Cullen was rushing back because of the Wild’s desperate situation.

The Wild had lost seven of nine (2-6-1) before Monday’s 4-3 victory and had gone 1-4-1, including three shutout losses, without Cullen.

“It’s been awfully tough watching, and it will be nice to get back in the fight with the guys,” Cullen said before the game, in which he had an assist. “If there’s a side benefit to [my time off], it’s a pretty good stretch of rest to be rejuvenated here. ... We’ve gone through a tough stretch of games. We have seven left here and we have to win a bunch.”

Coach Mike Yeo was hoping Cullen’s return would help reignite struggling Devin Setoguchi. But he also hoped that the increased threat of secondary scoring would made it harder for opponents to solely focus on shutting down first-liners Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu.

“He was playing so well before he got hurt,” Parise said of Cullen. “Really, that line with him and Setoguchi was playing unreal before he got hurt. That was a big part of us winning games and scoring a lot of goals, so for us to be getting him back, it’ll be big for those guys and it’ll be big for our team.”

Cullen centered Jason Zucker and Setoguchi, while Mikael Granlund was scratched.

Hanowski scores in his NHL debut

Unlike his St. Cloud State teammates, Ben Hanowski had yet to cut his long, unkempt-looking hair Monday morning from a charitable endeavor the Huskies conducted through their run to the Frozen Four for Locks of Love.

The freshly anointed Flames forward already was being ribbed for it by his new teammates.

“I was doing my sticks and Jiri Hudler gave me a pair of scissors and said it was not for my tape,” Hanowski said, laughing.

The Little Falls, Minn., native, acquired last month from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Jarome Iginla trade, made his NHL debut on Monday night against his homestate Wild and scored his first career goal in the third period.

“It adds a little cherry on top getting in your first game against the team you grew up cheering for,” said Hanowski, 22. “Playing Minnesota makes it that much sweeter than it was anyways.”

Hanowski, who was supposed to be in St. Cloud taking financial institutions and insurance exams Monday and Tuesday, instead began his pro career.

“I enjoyed my four years at St. Cloud,” he said. “It was a great four years, but I’m excited to start my new journey.”

Hanowski knows for the rest of his career, he will be linked to Iginla, the former Flames captain and icon.

“But I’m just going to be myself and be the player I can be,” Hanowski said.

Etc.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Toronto 104 FINAL
Indiana 91
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Detroit 95
Milwaukee 109 FINAL
Miami 102
Memphis 109 FINAL
Dallas 90
Chicago 53 3rd Qtr 9:10
Golden State 60
Washington 54 3rd Qtr 7:17
LA Lakers 68
NY Rangers 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 4
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 4
Winnipeg 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Washington 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Carolina 4
Dallas 2 FINAL
Montreal 3
Detroit 5 FINAL
Florida 4
Colorado 3 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 4
Buffalo 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
Minnesota 1 3rd Prd 4:37
Edmonton 1
Anaheim 2 3rd Prd
Vancouver 0
Ball State 47 FINAL
Akron 59
Northern Ill 46 FINAL
Bowling Green 56
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Ohio 40 FINAL
Eastern Mich 76
Xavier 66 FINAL
Georgetown 53
Vanderbilt 62 FINAL
Georgia 70
West Virginia 65 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Central Mich 53 FINAL
Kent State 63
Saint Josephs 48 FINAL
La Salle 53
Nebraska 44 FINAL
Michigan 58
Miami-Ohio 65 FINAL
Toledo 70
Tulsa 62 FINAL
Tulane 55
George Washington 48 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 72
Pittsburgh 67 FINAL
Virginia Tech 70
Indiana State 78 FINAL
Evansville 89
Tabor College 53 FINAL
Oral Roberts 94
Florida 52 FINAL
Alabama 50
Tennessee 64 FINAL
Arkansas 69
Texas A&M 71 FINAL
Auburn 61
Baylor 53 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
DePaul 0 Postponed
Providence 0
Michigan State 0 Postponed
Rutgers 0
Wyoming 44 FINAL
Utah State 56
Fresno State 47 FINAL
San Diego St 58
UNLV 61 2nd Half 0:42
Nevada 56
SD Christian 54 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 79
Colorado State 40 2nd Half
Boise State 30
Temple 71 FINAL
UCF 54
Campbell 42 FINAL
Presbyterian 51
Coastal Carolina 65 FINAL
High Point 73
Gardner-Webb 49 FINAL
Radford 59
UNC-Asheville 58 FINAL
Liberty 62
Winthrop 63 FINAL
Longwood 62
Columbia International 33 FINAL
Charleston Southern 74
Tulane 63 FINAL
Houston 46
(3) Baylor 89 FINAL
TCU 67
Navy 49 FINAL
American Univ 59
Valparaiso 42 FINAL
Illinois-Chicago 60

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What chance does the Wild have of making the playoffs?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close