Penguins' Cullen using dry-erase board to bridge language barrier with Plotnikov

Published Dec. 3, 2015 12:18 p.m. ET

While hardly an artist, Pittsburgh Penguins veteran center Matt Cullen has become quite adept at drawing a pretty picture for fellow fourth-liner Sergei Plotnikov.

The 25-year-old Plotknikov steadily is learning English, but remains only two months removed from leaving his native Russia and the Kontinental Hockey League to come to North America and the NHL.

"We use the dry-erase board a lot, walk through different ideas, but I’ve noticed he’s picking up on more things already,” the 39-year-old Cullen told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "... It’s got to be a huge challenge to deal with coming over here, adapting to this game, then being out of the lineup, and coming back in the lineup and trying to maintain what you do that has made you successful in the past and still trying to believe in yourself.”

The line, which also includes veteran Eric Fehr, earned significant praise from coach Mike Johnston after Pittsburgh opened its four-game road trip with a 5-1 rout of the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.

While Cullen netted his second goal of the season on Tuesday, he hopes to draw up something to get Plotnikov into the scoring column real soon.

(h/t Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)