Matt Cullen #7 of the Minnesota Wild shoots against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center on April 30, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.
(April 29, 2013 - Source: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America)

Cullen ready to move on from Wild

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The free agent period is about to start and Matt Cullen can say with confidence that his time with the Minnesota Wild has come to an end. The team is up against the cap ceiling and consequently never even offered Cullen a contract.

“[Wild GM Chuck Fletcher] said all along he wasn’t going to do that unless he could make a legitimate offer,” Cullen told the Star Tribune on Thursday. “That’s a pretty classy move. He called me last night and we talked a little while and he said it’s a tough call to make, but he just can’t find the room to make an offer. So that was it.

“It was a sad night in the Cullen household last night. We were pretty disappointed, but understanding of the situation.”

The 36-year-old center has spent his last three seasons with Minnesota. This was his sixth NHL team, but it was also a special one for him given his Minnesota roots.

“It was more than I would have ever imagined as far as playing at home and raising my kids there and being part of the organization and watching the organization grow from where it was three years ago to where it is now,” Cullen said. “I just leave with a lot of positive memories. It was a great experience for me. It was a lot of fun.

“Obviously, I would have liked to have won more games, but last year was one of the most enjoyable seasons playing hockey, and to go on that note, not many guys play pro hockey in their home state.

“Now it’s time to move on.”

He shouldn’t have problem finding work elsewhere after scoring seven goals and 27 points in 42 games last season.

Watch the Blackhawks’ Patrick Sharp tribute video

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Over the years, the Chicago Blackhawks have been forced to let some important players leave to keep their core together, which ultimately meant parting ways with Patrick Sharp.

The talented winger now wears a Dallas Stars jersey, so Blackhawks fans must face the reality of watching Sharp ply his trade for a formidable Central Division opponent.

Even if that might feel awkward, Blackhawks fans gave Sharp (and Johnny Oduya) a warm reception in Chicago on Thursday.

CSNChicago.com provides video of that ovation, which you can see in the clip above.

The Stars currently lead the Blackhawks 4-2, thanks in large part to Patrick … Eaves.

Wild must overcome Alex Ovechkin’s 14th career hat trick

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Death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin winning the Maurice Richard Trophy.

OK, the third thing on that list isn’t technically inevitable. It just feels that way lately in the NHL.

It’s unclear if the Washington Capitals can hold on against the Minnesota Wild, but we know for certain that Ovechkin already has a hat trick, the 14th of his high-scoring career.

This propels Ovechkin to the goals lead as of this writing, as he already has 34. As impressive as Patrick Kane has been, No. 8 is heating up, and may just edge No. 88 if Ovechkin can remain healthy.

One has to feel a little sympathy for the struggling Wild. They played well but lost against the Dallas Stars earlier this week and now must deal with Ovechkin and the just-as-hot Capitals.

Bylsma believes league will look at Gudas’ hit on Catenacci

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Rugged Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas may get in trouble with the league once again.

At least, it will be that way if Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has his way regarding Gudas’ five-minute charging major hit on Daniel Catenacci.

“I think there’s no question it’s head hit,” Bylsma said, according to the Buffalo News’ John Vogl. ” … I know the league will look at that hit and deal with it.”

As far as the injury portion of possible suspension considerations go:

Marcus Foligno‘s analysis of Gudas was … well just check it out.

The Flyers ended up winning 5-1. Gudas was a busy man overall, racking up 17 penalty minutes.

Fight video: Patrice Bergeron vs. Blake Wheeler (seriously)

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Regular Selke winner Patrice Bergeron can do it all on the ice, it seems. Apparently that means he’ll even drop the gloves.

That was the unlikely scene during Thursday’s Boston Bruins – Winnipeg Jets skirmish, as Bergeron fought fellow finesse forward Blake Wheeler.

Perhaps unusual feisty behavior was just in the air, as Tyler Myers squared off with Matt Beleskey.

(Not as unlikely, but still.)