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.

• Goaltender Josh Harding was scheduled to fly to Houston on Monday to begin a conditioning stint with the AHL’s Aeros that can last through Sunday. Harding, who has been sidelined since Feb. 12 because of side effects he had from medication used to treat multiple sclerosis, is expected to play two of the Aeros’ final three regular-season games this weekend.

• The Wild also assigned 2012 first-round draft pick Matt Dumba to the Aeros. Dumba’s Red Deer Rebels were eliminated from the Western Hockey League playoffs last week. The 18-year-old defenseman scored 16 goals and 42 points in 62 games for Red Deer last season.

 

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland 45 3rd Qtr
Indiana 51
Washington 42 3rd Qtr
Philadelphia 47
Golden State 27 2nd Qtr 11:00
Toronto 13
New York 23 2nd Qtr 10:06
Detroit 32
Orlando 21 2nd Qtr 8:58
Atlanta 34
Charlotte 34 2nd Qtr 6:10
Boston 39
LA Clippers 2 1st Qtr 9:19
Memphis 3
Brooklyn 3 1st Qtr 10:50
Houston 2
Miami 5 1st Qtr 9:33
New Orleans 6
Minnesota 4 1st Qtr 10:04
Chicago 4
Utah 8:00 PM
Denver
San Antonio 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Milwaukee 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
Portland
Boston 1 2nd Prd 8:57
New Jersey 0
Calgary 0 2nd Prd 11:29
NY Islanders 1
Washington 0 2nd Prd 13:51
Carolina 1
Chicago 0 1st Prd :33
Tampa Bay 0
Colorado 7:30 PM
Dallas
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Siena 63 FINAL
Quinnipiac 73
Harvard 39 2nd Half 5:00
Cornell 42
Penn 30 2nd Half 16:52
Brown 49
Fairfield 34 2nd Half 20:00
Canisius 34
Manhattan 35 2nd Half 20:00
Iona 41
Saint Peters 27 2nd Half 18:35
Marist 45
Princeton 43 2nd Half 14:36
Yale 39
Ohio 0 1st Half 20:00
Akron 0
Dartmouth 6 1st Half 17:46
Columbia 0
Valparaiso 9:00 PM
Cleveland State
Louisiana Tech 75 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 88
Seton Hall 56 2nd Half 12:57
Xavier 34
Cornell 27 2nd Half 20:00
Harvard 23
Yale 19 2nd Half 14:30
(14) Princeton 45
Elon 30 2nd Half 12:17
Drexel 37
Northeastern 30 2nd Half 15:52
James Madison 43
St Johns 33 2nd Half 14:52
Butler 28
Creighton 50 2nd Half 12:35
Georgetown 42
Brown 35 2nd Half 13:57
Penn 54
Columbia 29 2nd Half 13:30
Dartmouth 39
Canisius 31 2nd Half 13:30
Siena 36
St Josephs Brooklyn 17 2nd Half
NJIT 32
Western Carolina 45 2nd Half 20:00
UNC Greensboro 33
Colorado 9 1st Half 13:49
Arizona 9
Southern Ill 7:00 PM
Bradley
Drake 9 1st Half 16:47
Wichita State 4
Indiana State 7 1st Half 13:20
Evansville 12
Illinois State 7:05 PM
Loyola-Chicago
Northern Iowa 7:05 PM
Missouri State
Utah 7:30 PM
(10) Arizona State
Providence 7:30 PM
Villanova

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: With Adrian Peterson's suspension overturned, what should the Vikings do?

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