But not today. [John] Cullen, age 34 and giving himself one month in the IHL to prove he can return to the NHL, came up with seven good reasons to keep trying.
Diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in March 1997, Cullen gave his courageous comeback a boost before family and friends Saturday night at Cleveland's Gund Arena. He tallied a career-high seven points (two goals-five assists) for the Cleveland Lumberjacks in a 7- 3 victory over the defending Turner Cup-champion Chicago Wolves.
Cullen was offered an NHL assistant's job by Lightning GM/Head Coach Jacques Demers after scratching him from the lineup three times in the first four games. He chose a minor-league rehab assignment instead. Cullen had not played an IHL game since the 1987-88 season, when he scored a league-record 157 points (48 goals-109 assists) for the Flint Spirits.