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What's with Matt Cullen?

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Old
02-07-2007, 08:56 AM
  #1
dave4
 
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What's with Matt Cullen?

After watching this guy for more than half a season now, I can't figure out what it is that this guy does well. I mean, don't get me wrong, he's not a terrible hockey player or anything, he has speed and some tenacity and every once in a while he gets off a good shot.

But for all the people who said over the summer that he was a key cog in the Canes cup run, I just don't see it. Those assets I mentioned above very rarely come together all at the same time to produce a great shift.

In the Versus production of last Monday's game against the Bruins they show some of his nice plays during the playoffs, him sharply running the Canes power play from the point, and some terrific rushes up the ice. That didn't look like the Matt Cullen we've been watching this year, although ironically that night was the one good game he's had recently on the COP line.

In fairness to Cullen, Renney has not used him on the point, but nothing about his game this year resembles anything we saw last year. I want to blame Renney, but I don't know if that's fair. It looks like Cullen is trying out there, he's not gliding around the ice like Jagr and Malik, but for some reason it never seems to come together for him, at least not for more than the occasional game or two here and there.

Thoughts?

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02-07-2007, 09:11 AM
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94now
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Renney coaching and Cullen's performance are both down from last year. Things like that happen. The problem with Rangers is that they obviously have no depth to absorb such a fluctuation. In addition, there were no one who hasn't sucked this season at one point or another with an exception of Tyutin. Thus, we are where we are. Cullen will be back next season if he is able to write this one off.

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02-07-2007, 09:35 AM
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I think Cullen is the type of player that is just born for the third line on a deep team. He excels when hes in a situation where there is less pressure, a little more open ice and linemates that are the same. I think he likes that new COP line and hopefully they can grow together and find some chemistry.

He hasnt had a good season as far as number goes, but you are right the guy hustles. I was expecting alot more from him, but im very disappointed that Renney didnt even TRY Cullen at the point for any powerplay this season. To me thats just stupid when the powerplay has struggled mainly because of the lack of shots coming from the point and the ability to release one timers.

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02-07-2007, 09:36 AM
  #4
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Renney's coaching is the same...

The difference is that around this point last season, Jagr had about 13 goals more. While that goal difference may've been made up by others, the real difference has been the 'fact' that he's not dominating like last season, whereby the Rangers' top line would carry the play, and that seemed to carry through to other lines. With a dominating Jagr, one seems to notice the others a bit less. Remember also, the Rangers fell apart down the stretch last season, and Renney seemed to not have a clue what to do.

As for Cullen - he's a third liner trying to be a second liner. Further, he's a PP point guy trying to be a center/setup guy. I've said this before, and that's guys need to play in the roles that made them successful. Further, I believe that success on the PP can lead to success at even strength. Cullen ha 2 PP assists this year and zero goals. He's playing a different position. Perhaps with a bit more PP time (and the point has been a problem this season), he would get more goals, more assists, and that would help his ES game. Some guys need to play a certain amount of ice time. Some times get into rhythms and into routines and when you break them, they don't fare as well. I believe Cullen is one of those guys. I believe Prucha's another (i.e., get him out there with Jagr, on the PP for a bit, and even at ES, and I think you'll see the goals start to come again).

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02-07-2007, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave4 View Post
After watching this guy for more than half a season now, I can't figure out what it is that this guy does well. I mean, don't get me wrong, he's not a terrible hockey player or anything, he has speed and some tenacity and every once in a while he gets off a good shot.

But for all the people who said over the summer that he was a key cog in the Canes cup run, I just don't see it. Those assets I mentioned above very rarely come together all at the same time to produce a great shift.

In the Versus production of last Monday's game against the Bruins they show some of his nice plays during the playoffs, him sharply running the Canes power play from the point, and some terrific rushes up the ice. That didn't look like the Matt Cullen we've been watching this year, although ironically that night was the one good game he's had recently on the COP line.

In fairness to Cullen, Renney has not used him on the point, but nothing about his game this year resembles anything we saw last year. I want to blame Renney, but I don't know if that's fair. It looks like Cullen is trying out there, he's not gliding around the ice like Jagr and Malik, but for some reason it never seems to come together for him, at least not for more than the occasional game or two here and there.

Thoughts?
I thought the same & then while I was the Virgin Megastore last week, I picked up the Canes Stanley Cup DVD season review.. He was AWESOME. So was Ward. They showed highlights of Cullen doing some sick stuff. He's clearly not being used the same way as he was in Carolina.

I think Ward just needs a season in NY to get his feet on the ground. I'm sure he'll be MUCH better next season (down the stretch)

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02-07-2007, 09:44 AM
  #6
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Some players don't look like they are doing a whole lot out on the ice, but in their subtle way they actually do. ex. being in sound defensive position, a nice breakout pass etc.
Matt Cullen, has the opposite effect. He looks like he's doing a whole lot out there, but he really isn't. You are right, he is always moving his feet and skates all over the ice, but for all that skating he isn't "getting anywhere"
To use a poor comparison: Two buzzword keys to success are effeciency (doing things right) and effectiveness (doing the right thing)
Cullen is efficient in that he skates, shoots, and hustles well. But he's not effective cause he just can't put it together to make the right plays.

In baseball they use the term false hustle to describe a play like someone diving headfirst into first base. sure it looks like he's going all-out to get there, but he probably would have been better off running through the bag

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02-07-2007, 09:53 AM
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Maybe my memory is faulty, but wasnt the Rangers powerplay before this recent dry spell top 5 in the league all year???? Putting the cart before the horse here arent we fellas?

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02-07-2007, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by GarretJoseph View Post
I thought the same & then while I was the Virgin Megastore last week, I picked up the Canes Stanley Cup DVD season review.. He was AWESOME. So was Ward. They showed highlights of Cullen doing some sick stuff. He's clearly not being used the same way as he was in Carolina.

I think Ward just needs a season in NY to get his feet on the ground. I'm sure he'll be MUCH better next season (down the stretch)
Was he awesome a year before last one? I doubt that. There are many factors that makes player play one year better then another... And why is that Renney should follow other coaches schemes? Why should he copy Laviolette? If you try to change your system every time the GM gets you new guy, what kind of system would that be, if any? You cannot just tell the player "Go play the point on PP, I know you can do it." You've got to go through hours of practice to ensure that point guy is in sink with others. If not, you will get no scoring at best. At worst you will get a breakaway and shorthanded goal against.

Unlike 5-on-5 PP is not a situational improvisation. It has to be done strictly by a playbook. Very much like football or chess everyone's options should be determined (once, this D does this, you do this) in order to open the shooting line that is least expected by defenders. In order change Rozy with Cullen you have to almost start over. Don't you as a coach have nothing else to do? You already overwhelmed with the stuff your idiot boss suggests to you. Now you have to listen to some fans that have seen some tapes from last year? Gimmy a break, please!


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02-07-2007, 12:42 PM
  #9
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Cullen's alleged awesomeness on the powerplay led the Hurricanes to the 17th ranked powerplay in the NHL. The Rangers are currently 11th.

Let's look PP points compared to PP ice-time on the Hurricanes last year (minimum 10 points).

Eric Staal - 40 points. 451:10
Ray Whitney - 36 points. 371:18
Rod Brind'amour - 35 points. 421:14
Cory Stillman - 34 points. 397:34
Justin Williams - 25 points. 380:01
Matt Cullen - 18 points. 372:37
Frantisek Kaberle - 17 points. 318:47
Erik Cole - 14 points. 276:46
Oleg Tverdovsky - 12 points. 244:50

Cullen was a below-average contributor on an average powerplay. Ray Whitney doubled his point totals despite getting less ice-time. I don't feel like doing the calculations right now, but I can bet that everyone listed above registered a point more often than Cullen...even Turnoverdovsky.

Isn't it obvious Cullen's abilities were completely overstated in the offseason? I'm not faulting Rangers fans at all for that, as it was Hurricanes fans who seemed to do a lot of the hyping because of their emotional attachments to the Cup run.

Anyhow, of course Cullen looks good in highlight reels and NHL-sponsored DVDs. They aren't going to put together clips of him firing the directly puck at a defender's shinpads over and over and over and over again. Or his infamous month-long goal slumps that I'm sure you're all too familiar with now.

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02-07-2007, 12:48 PM
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Not sure there's anything wrong with Cullen. He's not playing the point on the PP where he's been effective. But he's on pace to finish only 9 points shy of his total from last season.

The guy is a role player.

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02-07-2007, 01:28 PM
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I agree, I think the problem was expectations.

Cullen is at his best on a good third line. Potentially you could put him together with Avery and you might just have that.

I could see Cullen getting his 20 goals and 45 points in a situation like that.

The problem he isn't a second line player and right now (like countless others) he is playing over his head.

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02-07-2007, 02:12 PM
  #12
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I agree, I think the problem was expectations.

Cullen is at his best on a good third line. Potentially you could put him together with Avery and you might just have that.

I could see Cullen getting his 20 goals and 45 points in a situation like that.

The problem he isn't a second line player and right now (like countless others) he is playing over his head.
I dont think he's playing over his head, I think he's being asked to play over his head but playing right at his level. Last year you could say this team played over its' collective head. Maybe thats just a difference in what we mean by the term.

I would love to read the scouting report the Rangers' had on Cullen when they decided to sign him. What made them think he could be a second line center? The only reasonable explanation I can think of is that they expected Immonen to assume the role at some point in the season.

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02-07-2007, 02:18 PM
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Larry Melnyk
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Yep, Cullen as a 2nd liner was a colossal mistake because he just does not have the ability to play or generate offense at that level....The guys has basically had one good consistent season before this year and we were counting on him to be a 2nd liner..It was pure insanity from the second he was signed..

Further, Cullen as a 3rd liner is also a colossal mistake because he is severley overpaid and signed for too long for the role that, I agree, he is capable of....But a horrendous use of Cap dollars...

Would be nice if Carolina would want him back...Maybe that is his comfort zone..

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02-07-2007, 02:19 PM
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I could see this being his adjustment season to NY. I have bigger hopes for him as of Next season. Can really see him thriving a bit more.

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02-07-2007, 02:23 PM
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Yep, Cullen as a 2nd liner was a colossal mistake because he just does not have the ability to play or generate offense at that level....The guys has basically had one good consistent season before this year and we were counting on him to be a 2nd liner..It was pure insanity from the second he was signed..

Further, Cullen as a 3rd liner is also a colossal mistake because he is severley overpaid and signed for too long for the role that, I agree, he is capable of....But a horrendous use of Cap dollars...

Would be nice if Carolina would want him back...Maybe that is his comfort zone..
At least his salary decreases as the years go on, but I can't believe he is signed through 2010.

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02-07-2007, 02:25 PM
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I agree, I think the problem was expectations.

Cullen is at his best on a good third line. Potentially you could put him together with Avery and you might just have that.

I could see Cullen getting his 20 goals and 45 points in a situation like that.

The problem he isn't a second line player and right now (like countless others) he is playing over his head.
I agree he is 3C in general terms. However, under Renney system 3rd line is a shutdown unit with 3C used as 3rd D-man (Holik while in NJ line?). Therefore Betts is a better and at this time the only fit. For Renney's system Cullen is a 2nd line material, but not a centre, just a wing. In fact he is no good for Renney in any role. Why? He is light and fast - those are good qualities for someone who is needed for quick transitional game. So in NJ he would be right at home. For Jagresque puck possession game Rangers employ he is not dominant enough with the puck to be useful.

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02-07-2007, 02:46 PM
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problem: he thinks he's pavel bure

The fact of the matter is he's a 3rd line Center tops. And a bad center at that considering he can't set up his teammates. He's more of a Leftwinger who happens to take faceoffs.

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02-07-2007, 03:00 PM
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I'd see how he plays with Avery and perhaps if Dawes and Callahan were called up which they should be. Just because Cullen hasn't clicked with Prucha or Shanny doesn't mean he can't turn it around. Prucha has been worthless almost all year.

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02-07-2007, 03:13 PM
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I'd see how he plays with Avery and perhaps if Dawes and Callahan were called up which they should be. Just because Cullen hasn't clicked with Prucha or Shanny doesn't mean he can't turn it around. Prucha has been worthless almost all year.
Donutboy... Tom Renney in disguise

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02-07-2007, 03:56 PM
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I wish we signed Arnott. But anyways we do need a centre with size. How about Gratton. Maybe Chris Gratton for Hall , Billy Ryan and Lampman???

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02-07-2007, 04:04 PM
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I wish we signed Arnott. But anyways we do need a centre with size. How about Gratton. Maybe Chris Gratton for Hall , Billy Ryan and Lampman???
You kill Sather for trading youth for vets. But you propose this. Very confusing.

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02-07-2007, 04:18 PM
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After watching this guy for more than half a season now, I can't figure out what it is that this guy does well. I mean, don't get me wrong, he's not a terrible hockey player or anything, he has speed and some tenacity and every once in a while he gets off a good shot.

But for all the people who said over the summer that he was a key cog in the Canes cup run, I just don't see it. Those assets I mentioned above very rarely come together all at the same time to produce a great shift.

In the Versus production of last Monday's game against the Bruins they show some of his nice plays during the playoffs, him sharply running the Canes power play from the point, and some terrific rushes up the ice. That didn't look like the Matt Cullen we've been watching this year, although ironically that night was the one good game he's had recently on the COP line.

In fairness to Cullen, Renney has not used him on the point, but nothing about his game this year resembles anything we saw last year. I want to blame Renney, but I don't know if that's fair. It looks like Cullen is trying out there, he's not gliding around the ice like Jagr and Malik, but for some reason it never seems to come together for him, at least not for more than the occasional game or two here and there.

Thoughts?
He skates fast but unfortunately he is almost always out of control and can't execute at the speed he is moving.

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02-07-2007, 04:30 PM
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Donutboy... Tom Renney in disguise
This comment is moronic. If you read the entire post, you would realize how stupid it was to compare me to Renney when I'm calling for Dawes and Callahan to be called up and said it should have happened a long time ago. I also find it funny you defend Prucha. Sorry, Prucha has been worthless and he has nobody to blame but himself. He was a beanpole last year and he did absolutely nothing in the off-season to bulk up. In other words. He showed no effort to improve his game.

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02-07-2007, 05:03 PM
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I think our expectations are/where too high for the guy, he seems like he is just a role player who when put in a position where he isnt responsible for being a playmaker and scoring a ton of goals, will do resonably well. Unfortunatly this season he was put into a situation where his job is to make sure that his wingers are scoring goals and when that doesnt happen we see him as we are now. He is a usefull player IMO, just being used wrong which is the story of the New York Rangers isnt it?

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02-07-2007, 05:24 PM
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I think our expectations are/where too high for the guy, he seems like he is just a role player who when put in a position where he isnt responsible for being a playmaker and scoring a ton of goals, will do resonably well. Unfortunatly this season he was put into a situation where his job is to make sure that his wingers are scoring goals and when that doesnt happen we see him as we are now. He is a usefull player IMO, just being used wrong which is the story of the New York Rangers isnt it?

I completely agree. Which is why I said I would love to read the scouting report the Rangers had on him when they decided to give him that contract. What sort of role were they expecting him to play? Did they think Immonen would be the full time second line center by now?

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