Cullen will play his 1,000th game vs. Sharks

Cullen will play his 1,000th game vs. Sharks

Published Jan. 10, 2012 1:28 p.m. ET

TUESDAY'S STORY LINE: Matt Cullen still remembers his first NHL game with Anaheim like it was yesterday. It was October 28th, 1997, he was a baby in the NHL and only two years removed from high school in Moorehead, Minnesota.

"I remember it very clearly, it doesn't seem like it was that long ago. It was at Maple Leaf Gardens. I will never forget it, it was a fun experience, " said Cullen. "To be playing alongside guys like Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne was pretty special."

Tonight at 35, Cullen will skate in his 1,000th NHL game.  Like life, the years since his NHL debut have all gone by incredibly fast.

"It is funny how fast it goes, but I have enjoyed it. I love the game and it has been good to me. It has been more then I could ever hope for," added Cullen.

Reaching the 1,000 game mark has given Cullen the opportunity to reflect on his career, and his most memorable moment, no doubt, was winning the cup in 2006 with Carolina.

"Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals is the one that stands out to me. It is the ultimate for a player and to be able to win the cup at home, it is the best memory," noted Cullen, who had two assists in the game.

Cullen's accomplished career has taken him to Anaheim, Florida, Carolina, New York, back to Carolina, Ottawa and then finally home to Minnesota.

Tonight, Cullen will become the 7th Minnesota native to skate in 1,000 NHL games. To be able to do so in front his hometown crowd is more than he could have ever dreamed of as a child.

"For me growing up here and now being able to have my 1,000th game at home in front of the home crowd is special. I grew up watching the North Stars and wanting to play for the North Stars. It is more than I could ever hope for," added Cullen.

HE SAID IT: "It is weird coming back, but it is good, it is fun. The first time we played them in San Jose was weird...Tonight it will be a little bit more weird out there. Hopefully I go to the right bench on the first line change."  -- Brent Burns on his first game back in Minnesota tonight