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Published April 27, 2010, 12:00 AM

NHL: Playoff addition, Sens’ Cullen now home to meet new son

Modern technology allowed Ottawa Senators center Matt Cullen to watch the early-morning birth of his third son from more than 1,000 miles away via a computer screen.

Modern technology allowed Ottawa Senators center Matt Cullen to watch the early-morning birth of his third son from more than 1,000 miles away via a computer screen.

However, the first face-to-face meeting between Matt and his new baby boy had to wait until Monday due to the NHL playoffs.

Excited to get home, Matt?

“I want to get up in front of that plane and fly it myself,” he said from Chicago as he waited for a connecting flight to Fargo.

Joseph Terry Cullen was born 3:15 a.m. on April 17, a few hours after the Senators’ 2-1 loss to the Penguins in Game 2 of the first-round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

In the hours before the birth, Matt said he searched frantically for a flight from Pittsburgh to Fargo to be at his wife, Bridget’s side.

But nothing materialized, and Bridget suggested Matt return to Ottawa to watch the birth on Web-based video conferencing software Skype.

“I think he felt so bad that he couldn’t be here,” said Bridget, also the mother of Brooks, 3, and Wyatt, 1. “He kept saying ‘You’re doing great Bridge, you’re doing great (from the computer).’ … We’re really looking forward to (Monday).”

Hours after Joseph’s birth, Matt had a goal and an assist as the Penguins took a 2-1 series lead with a 4-2 win in Game 3.

Matt’s arrival in Fargo was delayed a few days longer when the Senators forced Game 6 with a 4-3 triple overtime win on Thursday. Ottawa was eliminated from the playoffs on Saturday.

Cullen tied with Daniel Alfredsson for the Senators’ lead with eight points in the postseason. He had eight points in 21 regular season games following a late-season trade from Carolina.

“It was a really good fit (in Ottawa),” Cullen said. “I was in a really good situation. I was counted on pretty heavily in the playoffs. That’s what I was brought there for and that’s what I hoped for. I was happy to be able to help. I’m only disappointed we weren’t able to beat Pittsburgh.”

Matt said he will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. However, Cullen said the Senators made it clear before he left for Fargo that they want him back.

“It was really rewarding,” Cullen said of playing for the Senators. “It was fun playing in Canada, and playing in a city where hockey is such a way of life.”

Cullen said he feels better physically and mentally than he has in years. The 33-year-old missed several games in 2008 due to a pair of concussions.

He returned healthy last year, and posted 16 goals and 32 assists in 81 games with Carolina and Ottawa this season.

“To be honest, I think I am a better player than I have ever been,” Cullen said.

Now that the NHL season is over, Cullen said he is looking forward to spending time with his growing family.

Brother, Mark, welcomed a baby boy to his family three weeks ago. And brother, Joe, has a baby boy due in about a week.

Mark and Joe Cullen also play professional hockey. Father, Terry Cullen, is the former head coach and one of the architects of the Moorhead High boys hockey program.

“I’ve got a lot of catching up to do,” Matt said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562

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