Matt Cullen was meeting with the top of the Penguins' management structure Sunday night in Sewickley, Pa., a source told DKPittsburghSports.com, possibly toward taking a post-playing position within the organization.
Others known to be at the meeting were David Morehouse, Jim Rutherford and Bill Guerin, the highest three figures in the franchise's hierarchy shy of owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle. That level of representation almost certainly wouldn't be needed if Cullen were simply informing the team of his retirement as a player -- something he hasn't done yet -- and Guerin's inclusion suggests a role in player procurement or development.
It's been broadly assumed that Cullen, 42, would retire after 21 seasons and 1,649 NHL games, but there's been no word from him toward that end since these noncommittal remarks April 16, the night the Penguins were swept out of the Stanley Cup playoffs by the Islanders:
"No, not at all," Cullen replied when asked if he felt he'd just played his final game. "That's something for another day."
Now, it's previously been assumed Cullen would retire, and he'd pop right back. This time, though, it seems for real. He was still productive -- seven goals, 13 assists, top penalty-killing duty and an ace at defensive-zone starts -- but he also threw out occasional hints throughout the winter that this would really be it.
Earlier Sunday, Rutherford toldDave Molinari he'd “most definitely” be interested in having Cullen, a member of all three of his Cup-winning teams, stay in a non-playing capacity, such as scouting or coaching. Rutherford added that, at the time, Cullen had not informed the team of his playing status but that he should "in the next few days."