It’s a tradition with roots nearly as deep as the post-series handshake line: Players reveal the bevy of injuries they played through in the postseason in the hopes of taking a lap with the Stanley Cup raised over their head. Matt Cullen revealed after the Penguins won the Stanley Cup on Sunday that he had played with a broken big toe since Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.
The veteran fourth-line center managed to be a contributor throughout the postseason, putting up four goals and six points and never needing the kind of sheltering that the Sharks had to give to their abysmal fourth line, especially in the wake of Tomas Hertl’s injury.
That line of Cullen, Eric Fehr and rookie Tom Kuhnhackl gave coach Mike Sullivan the ability to roll four lines and cause havoc for the Sharks, who were regularly shortening their bench.
The win is the second Stanley Cup victory for the 39-year-old Cullen, who added value throughout the season on a very cheap contract. Should it prove to be his final season, it wouldn’t be a bad way to go out.