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Report: Fan favorite Penguins player is not coming back to Pittsburgh

Who DIDN'T want him back?

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There were rumors earlier in the season that Jim Rutherford could be primed to bring back everyone's favorite father figure. You know who we're talking about.

Matt Cullen was a key component of the last two Stanley Cup runs for the Pittsburgh Penguins - putting up points and providing excellent leadership on the team's fourth line.

His presence there has been sorely missed, with Riley Sheahan and Carter Rowney left to fill that huge void left by the veteran.

Cullen now plays for the Minnesota Wild, and there was a time where it seemed quite plausible that Rutherford would trade back for him, with some beat reporters in Pittsburgh revealing that there were some conversations held by upper management in regards to this matter. But nothing ever transpired, and now it seems that nothing will.

Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette holds a weekly online chat with readers - and one fan by the first name "Karen" asked if we'd ever see "dad" back in a Penguins uniform.

"I really don't think so, Karen. (Minnesota)'s right there. Hard to see the Wild letting him go. I'll say this: The Penguins need someone like 'Dad' right now," Mackey explained.

While this isn't definitive, or based on inside information, the fact remains that Mackey is almost unequivocally right. The Wild hold onto the final wildcard spot in the Western conference, with teams like the Calgary Flames and Chicago Blackhawks hot on their tails.

Cullen only has 10 points on the season, but his value goes way beyond his production - any fan of Pittsburgh would know that. With the team fighting for their playoff lives with less than half the season to go, the odds of them trading a key veteran such as Cullen are slim to none.

Whether Cullen continues his hockey career beyond this season remains to be seen, but it would likely be the only hope fans have of seeing Cullen back in white and gold.

CULLEN HIGHLIGHTS AS A PENGUIN

If you're feeling nostalgic, here are some fantastic highlights of Cullen back when he suited up for Pittsburgh.

And after he won the Stanley Cup last season...